Online Customer Service No Better Than By Telephone

In an effort to save money many businesses now use realtime online customer service

Customer service is a business function that gets a lot of criticism and usually for good reasons. We've all had the hold from hell with distorted music while we wait for "Christian" or "Hermione" who is quite is obviously working in a Mumbai and knows next to nothing about whatever our problem is and keeps trying to get you to go to the company's web site instead of bothering him or her ... this has been standard big business fare for a long time. 

But telephone service is an expensive overhead so over the last few years businesses have been trying to minimize their telephone support costs by offering realtime (i.e. interactive) online customer service. This has become more commonplace and, to a degree, it is an improvement because it's somewhat better than hanging on the phone. That said, the nline interactive service quality usually isn't any better. In fact the ability to have one online operator handle scores of chat sessions simultaneously usually aided and abetted by a computer makes the "texture" of interaction slow, often clumsy, and usually over-scripted.

I recently tried to find the price of Adobe's Photoshop CS and not finding it on the company's site (all I could find was the price for the Creative Cloud version which they are pushing hard) I resorted to their online customer service. As you can see from the transcript below, this was anything but a smooth experience and what with all of the fillers and the attempt to up-sell it was, all in all, ridiculous and far too slow. Sure, I eventually got what I wanted but I'm left with an impression of Adobe that isn't great.

If you're using realtime online customer support in your organization you need to think very carefully about what kind of image it conveys because with a little effort it is possible to deliver great customer service. With no effort, it can be as bad or even worse than it usually is by telephone.

Please hold as we route your chat to an Adobe Representative.

Hello! Welcome to! My name is 'Lucas'. [Oh, I'm sure it is.]

Lucas: Hi, may I have your first name please? [No, you don't need to know that]

Visitor: I can't find the regular version of Photoshop, only the CC version ... where should I look?

Lucas: Hi there. [OMG, is he a program?]

Visitor: I can't find the regular version of Photoshop, only the CC version ... where should I look?

Lucas: I Understand that you are trying to purchase the regular version of Photoshop and you are not able to locate, is that correct ? [Dear gods, I just wrote that]

Visitor: Yes.

Lucas: Sure, I will be glad to help you with the link.

[Time passess ... slowly]

Lucas: While I help you with the link, could you please help me understand the task that you would like to accomplish using Photoshop software ?

Visitor: No. Just give me the link please.

[Loooong pause]

Visitor: Hello?

Lucas: Sure, I will help you.

Lucas: I am sorry, I just wanted you to know that Adobe has released the latest version which is called Creative cloud membership which includes all the version of CS6 software for the lowest price. [Upsell, upsell, upsell! Argggghhhh!]

Lucas: That is exactly why I just wanted you to know as I am getting many customers for Creative cloud membership. [Arghhhhhhh!]

Visitor: That wasn't what I asked for. I want the regular version of Photoshop, not the CC version.

Lucas: However, here is the link which you had asked for.

Visitor: Thank you.

Lucas: Yes, I understand, sorry for the delay, I was locating  that link to help you, in the mean time I just informed you. [OMG! How hard was that!?!]

Lucas: Sorry about that.

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