Is Customer Service Dead?

I read on Ryan Stewart’s blog Rich Internet Application Mountaineer, about a problem a customer had with Adobe customer Service. Alex King wrote An Open Letter to Adobe, to detail the problems he has had with Adobe. In his letter Alex details the 2 month wait it took to get his free upgrade to CS3.

It started 4.27.07 when Alex purchased CS2 Design Premium and was eligible for an upgrade to CS3.

After numerous problems Alex finally receives his upgrade on 6.22.07, almost 2 months later.

I have had my own problems with Adobe. I have an version of CS2 that is an upgrade from PhotoShop 5. Being a Content Developer, I periodically have my machine reimaged and have to reinstall CS2. The installation does not recognize PhotoShop 5 as a valid product to upgrade from, so every time I install the product, I have to go into a secret squirrel area of the installation, call customer service for a challenge / response code, and then continue on. Calling customer service adds 10 – 20 minutes to every install. Why can’t they just recognize that I have a valid copy of PhotoShop 5 and CS2, and give me another serial code that keeps me from having to perform this workaround each time.

Overall I would rate Adobe as a good company, with solid products, and I will admit that each time I have spoken to customer service, they have been very friendly and helpful. My issue is more a breakdown in the upgrade policy then customer service. 

I would like to say that this failure in customer service is an isolated incident, but it isn’t. Poor customer service is everywhere. For example, recently Robert Mckee posted a video on YouTube about being stuck on a Delta flight. From a post on the Consumerist:

Passengers told new captain is making his way through the terminal, when he’s really coming in from Newark.
Delta tells his wife that the plane is in the air. This is right after she spoke with him by cellphone and they were still on the ground.

This video details some of the problems, read horrors, encountered during the flight.

YouTube – Delta Flight 6499, SEVEN HOURS on the tarmac

Just for fun, I Googled with the following queries:

Bad customer service – 60,100,000 responses

Customer service horror – 2,340,000 responses

Quality customer service – 224,000,000 responses

Good customer service – 180,000,000 responses

So bad customer service has 26% of the entries of quality customer service and 33% of good customer service entries. It is nice to see that good customer service entries still outweigh the bad, but companies need to remember that building a brand and customer loyalty is about building relationships with your customer.

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