All it takes is one employee to ruin your brand

I reached out to a certificate authority about buying a secure server certificate for my web/e-mail server.

Seems simple enough.  I needed some technical information based on the server’s configuration since I not only hosted my companies e-mail and web presence but I have several non-related domains (i.e., domain.com, example.com, foo.com).  In addition, I really wanted the SSL for the email server, not necessarily the web server, so maybe there was a less expensive alternative.

Therefore, I had some questions of the sales staff.  The young woman who answered quickly determined she was not knowledgeable enough to answer my questions and passed me on to technical support.  Wow, that was a) intelligent of her and b) nice of her.  Her parting words is make sure you tell them (tech support) that my questions are “pre-sales” questions.

When the man answered the phone, I immediately said I had some “pre-sales” technical questions.  The man started to listen to my queries and then asked for my customer number.  My obvious response was that is why I started by saying these are “pre-sales” questions.  “Pre-sales” meaning I am not yet a customer!

His response was he only could talk/provide support for customers.  My response was “so you are telling me you don’t want a new customer.”  This went back and forth several times, as well as the “my supervisor isn’t available” answer.  I hung up.

Most people would have left it at that and moved on.  I am not like most people; I HATE bad customer service.

I used Google to find the CEO and used another web service to find his email address.  Their website gave me the generic sales email.  I sent an email to both these address with the subject “You guys are idiots!!!!”.  Maybe not the most elegant subject line, but it is attention getting!

My email repeated the story I just told you, the reader; in addition, I wrote, “That is not the way you do business.  Shame on you!!!!!!!  Shame shame shame….”

Probably an hour and fifteen minutes later (I’m sure time zone issues caused some of the delay) I got a phone call from a senior Account Manager both apologizing and seeing how he could help.  He had a senior technical person on the phone to answer my questions.  During that same conversation, (approximately five minutes into the conversation) the CEO sent me a note apologizing for my experience.  While on the phone, I promptly answered the CEO (telling them how professional the two men I was talking with were).

Now that CEO and or the rest of management is on the ball.  They took what was a big negative (and nowadays you never really know who you are talking to, who they know or even how deft they are at social media) and turned what could have been a PR nightmare (because I would have included the company’s name here) into a success story; because I’m becoming a client.

Does your company put Customer Service number 1, no matter how small the client?