Robo-Support is Making Network & Data Center Management Software Look Bad


Customer service today just isn’t what it used to be. Don’t take my word for it: a recent study by Consumer Reports found that 57% of customers hang up the phone without a resolution…yikes. In fact, a prospect with whom we’ve been working just told us they’ve eliminated a fellow DCIM vendor based on bad support alone.

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I know that when I need to get an issue resolved with certain companies, I get out my desktop zen garden and make a cup of tea. Why? I know it’s going to take a long time and a lot of patience.

First, I have to enter the modern day labyrinth of automated customer service (answering different questions, clicking on links and confirming they haven’t resolved my problem, etc) and find the hidden escape hatch that finally gets me through to an actual human being.

More often than not, when I finally make it out of there, I’m greeted with the same canned and scripted message over and over:

“Yes, I can understand your issue. I empathize and I’m sorry this happening to you. I will try and help you to resolve the issue. I understand how frustrating this can be…so I want to help you. Is that ok? Can I help you — because I want to? And, we appreciate you as a valued customer. We want to be there for you because we value you.”

Does every support person have the same script these days? By that I mean: Empathize, Apologize, Listen, and then Resolve the issue (hopefully).

Here’s my problem: it all sounds so trite and manufactured. Of course, it doesn’t help that to even get through to an actual person, I had to invest an hour of my time filling out all those forms and answering questions until automation finally decided I was a lost cause and routed me through to a live person. Again, I’m not alone in this. According to another relatively recent study, 69% of respondents felt that customer service is better when the agent doesn’t sound as though they are reading a script.

Human interaction, and especially critically thinking human interaction, is kept at a minimum these days. To a certain extent, I get it. With large companies, they want to create the path of least resistance, keep lawyers at bay and appease you. They want to make sure that the wrong thing isn’t said.

Since we are in the business of providing excellent customer service for our network documentation, DCIM and OSP solutions, here’s my take on things:

I have a basic wish list for customer service today:

  • An easy way to reach a human
    The larger the company, the harder it is to get a human being on the phone or in a live chat capacity. Give me a number or a box and connect me with a person, please.
  • Establish some real rapport with me
    How about a simple “how ya doing?” and “how’s the weather?”…
    I know that whatever issue you are having is important or you wouldn’t be opening a ticket or calling in. I know it may be frustrating but do you really need to know that I understand it is frustrating. Enough with the computer generated cookie cutter support scripts. Hello, I am a human. Maybe I do need some coffee and am not super upbeat and perky, but you know what? I am going to help you out with the issue and hopefully resolve it, and maybe even talk about the weather and discuss a few human things while we are at it. I am not a robot…please repeat.

DCIM, Network Documentation & OSP Customers Need Good Support

Remember when I told you a fellow DCIM vendor recently lost a prospect due to bad support? We see that happen time and time again.

Let’s face it: our customers lack the time to swim around in an ocean of automated files that don’t provide the right answer for their unique question or issue. Although many times our self-serve help portal gives our customers fast answers right away, they also know they can get ahold of us whenever and talk to a knowledgeable, thinking human being who is highly trained in our products and how they function – not a person just reading off some generic script.

There’s no annoying hold muzak, there aren’t a bunch of numbers to punch in, and you don’t need to know a secret passcode to get into our speakeasy: just dial us up and we’ll ask you how your day is going.

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For us, it’s simple: we give you easy ways to reach us in addition to our self-serve help portal. Go ahead and test us: give us a call right now at 1-240-745-5824!

Bottomline? If you call in and need some help, I’m going to help you. I’m going to ask you about the weather, or how you’re doing or…if you’re from New England…I might hassle you a little about the Pats. Then, we’ll take a look at your problem and we’ll figure it out.

Is this a philosophy? I guess, but personally I think it’s getting back to helpful support without the script.

We are in the business of automation. Automation is a wonderful thing, but sometimes the end goal gets lost… I like this quote by business guru Peter Drucker:

“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

It’s important not to lose sight of the end goal, whether that goal is providing IT visualization or customer service: always aim for real effectiveness via efficiency.

Jason Sherman
Jason Sherman
As Graphical Networks’ Sales Engineering and Support Services Manager, Jason Sherman leads the pre and post sales cycle with the entire Graphical Networks software portfolio, and ensures current customers are able to use the software to its fullest potential.

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