Friday, April 08, 2016
back in 1990, i was a support engineer and manager (1 person dept) for Unify Corp (Sacramento, CA)
when i came in, no customer calls arrived. i thought this could mean only one of two things: one - the software is great; two - the support is not so great.
then i started calling customer and found out which one of two was true. guess what?
so i encouraged customers to start calling again. soon enough i had a lot of work to do. it kind of swamped me. these were like 150 support contracts.
i also noticed a habit: customers would call when they had a problem. so whenever my secretary passed a phone call, i knew this was a customer trying to solve a problem.
i remember my collegue in presales suggested that i should change the sentiment in any phone call from reactive to proactive (she would help from time to time in customer service). so while i continued to accept problems, sometimes being able to solve them, sometimes putting them through to the tech team, at the same time i started a counter-initiative.
i asked my customers: call me also when you are proud of something you did with our software. call me when you found out a solution to a problem on your own. call me when you plan to migrate from one version to another. because i knew, when the planning would start, over the next few weeks calls would come in.
i also suggested that, instead of searching their own software for three days, they might as well first call me. and if i confirmed that i knew not of such problem, they could still search their three days. but if i knew, i would save them three days.
magic started to happen. one customer calls in, saying he found a problem, told me the solution. then another customer calls in, same problem. depending on if it was in our software, i could relay the first customer's solution, or saying this other customer found a solution - would you want me to connect them to you?
my last move was that there were a lot of phone calls, but most of them were from happy customers, knowing i was on their team, wanting them to be successfull with our product, providing them with all the help from me in Europe and the tech team in Sacramento, as much as we could.