Is Customer Service a Dying Art?

by Bill Dougherty
22 August 2014

At RagingWire, providing superior customer service is part of our DNA. But lately, dealing with a lot of other vendors, I have to ask, “Is customer service a dying art?”

As an example, I recently moved to a new house. The telephone company took three weeks to move my phone. My work order was screwed up in their system (programming glitch). It took me calling them daily for weeks, getting transferred 5 to 13 times per call, and an unimaginable number of “escalations” to resolve. Finally the “Retention Department,” the one department charged with preventing customers from quitting the phone company, figured out the solution. The rep just typed a new work order and everything started working. Needless to say, I switched companies soon after.

In another situation, I contacted a company because they miscalculated sales tax on an order. They charged tax on a service fee which is a non-taxable item. Rather than resolving the issue and giving me some assurance that they’d fix their problem, the service rep gave me a canned response. “Our system charges tax on everything.” “Even though that’s illegal?” “Yep.” I hope for their sake that a more litigious person doesn’t notice the error.

My point here is not to complain about bad service, but to point out that good service is increasingly rare. The problem is that too many companies are trying to squeeze too many pennies by putting up walls between themselves and the customer. Outsourced call centers, automated phone trees, and refusals to hand out information do not make for a good customer experience.

Our customers hopefully experience something different. Every time you call RagingWire, a real live person answers the phone. Every time – 24x7. And that person’s job is to solve your issue. Or get you to the person who can solve that problem.

And we measure our results. Every time. Every single service ticket is followed up with a survey so our customers can tell us what we did well and where we can improve. And every single survey response is reviewed by management.

Your relationship with your data center is a long term one. It’s expensive and disruptive to switch vendors. Some data center providers take advantage of this, because they believe their customers are trapped. At RagingWire, we value our customers. We consider it an obligation to offer exceptional service so our customers never feel trapped. Ever.

RagingWire Net Promoter Score (NPS) - Aug 2014Every quarter we also ask every one of our customers how we are doing, via a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. NPS is the gold standard for measuring customer experience used by some of the world’s best service organizations including USAA, Costco, Apple, and Nordstrom. The average NPS across all companies is +23 on a scale of -100 to +100. A +50 is considered outstanding.

In our most recent quarter, RagingWire earned an NPS of +62, which is top in the data center industry.  By the way, we’ve had a 60+ NPS for four quarters in a row and we are committed to maintaining our leadership position in the industry.

We don’t think customer service is dead yet. At least not for our customers.

Bill Dougherty

Sr. Vice President & Chief Technology Officer