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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Use a slow night in support to build customer love

One slow weekend evening, I think we only had two or three people working support for all of the Unix side of things, including a level 1 "phone firewall". He was trying to learn as much as possible about running Linux boxes so as to make it to level 2 and escape the direct fury of incoming phone calls. He was bored, and wanted something to do.

I had an idea. We had this one customer based out of a large east coast city who was quite demanding (and yet reasonable) in his requests. He wanted X, and it needed to work. Some of the more laid-back people did not like him as a result, but he and I got along great. Knowing my stuff cold and not ever giving him excuses or other crap probably helped.

Anyway, one of the things he would do is call us to check on his web site. This was back before cell phones could load web pages, so he had to do it that way. We'd frequently hear him ordering lunch or something in a deli while talking to us. That's just how he rolled. He'd launch a new TV ad and would worry if his site would be healthy in time for it, and we'd get a call.

So, this night when it was really quiet and my friend asked for something to do, I realized we hadn't heard from this guy in a while. I figured, hey, why not just check on his site, go and use the provided login to make sure it's all happy, and send him a ticket saying as much? It would take all of five minutes, and the resulting customer love is priceless.

We did exactly that. The ticket said approximately something like this:

Hi Customer_Name,

We just wanted to let you know that we checked on your web site this evening since we hadn't heard from you in a while and we know it's important. Everything's doing well, and it's loading nice and quickly. Have a great weekend.

Tech Name Hosting Company Name

I didn't hear if there was any reaction to this particular event, but I do have a data point to share. Just before writing this post, I checked on the web site (yep, I still remember it), and he's still hosting with that same company. I'll take that as a win.