Tech Support: Key Indicator of Company Success

I hate lousy tech support. At Infinity Softworks, we work really hard to provide fast, prompt responses that solve the customer’s problem. So when I experience bad tech support somewhere else, it is really glaring.

I have been using Yahoo! Mail for years for my personal email. Lately, a bunch of my regular emails have been redirected to the Spam folder. Mind you, it is all kinds of mail, stuff like personal emails from friends as well as newsletters from companies that used to go to my inbox and now to my spam folder. On top of that, Yahoo’s spam filtering software ignores me. When I say a message isn’t spam, it always throws the next message from the same person and email address back in the spam folder. Annoying!

So I finally emailed Yahoo! to tell them that this is going on and see if they had any suggestions. This is the response I got less than 24 hours later:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care. We like to provide you with fast, efficient support. And the best way to get straight to your issue (and to get it resolved!) is to start from a topic in Yahoo! Mail Help that’s similar to the problem you’re experiencing.

So, please take a moment to browse Yahoo! Mail Help for a question like yours:
http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/mail/

If the answer doesn’t clear up the issue, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Contact Us” to open a form where you can write to us about what’s going on. Please be detailed and give us as much information as you can about your issue.

Thanks! With your help, we can get Yahoo! Mail working for you as quickly as possible.

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Mail.

Regards,

(name removed to protect the guilty)
Yahoo! Customer Care

Now, I’m a smart guy and know how to use the web. If I had found an answer on their site, I probably would have tried it first and told them I tried it. And it’s not like they knew there was a solution to the problem otherwise they would have directed me right to it.

This gives me a key piece of insight into Yahoo’s struggles. I find companies that give good technical support do well and those that don’t are either on the rocks or about to be. Yahoo used to give good support. Dell, too, used to be one of those companies with great support until about four years ago, right before the company started struggling. A trend? I think so.

So here’s my hint for understanding whether a company is worth buying from or not. Next time you want to know whether a product or service is worth it, send support an email message. Not sales, who are programmed to give you answers so they can get your money, but support, the folks who you will interact with once the company has less motivation to help you. Do you get a response in a reasonable amount of time? Do you get an answer to your question? Is the response kind and courteous? If it is all of these things, no matter what the question, then that company is worth working with.

If they can’t do this bare minimum in two tries or less, move on.

[Note: I sent a response back to Yahoo! asking them to try again. The second time I got an answer back on the issue, one that would solve the problem. As I mentioned above, I usually give a company a mulligan on the first one. After all, everyone has a bad day every once in a while.]