5-star customer service for AV designers
by Justin Linville from Provision Audio Video Solutions
A lot of folks know that Customer Service is a big deal to me, and I try to keep to myself when receiving bad service. However, when I experience a truly amazing customer service encounter, it deserves to be shared.
In my line of work, we use a common piece of CAD (computer aided drafting) software called, Vectorworks. As an added plug-in for this program, we use a system called connectCAD to create, manage, and streamline system schematics and project infrastructure designs. The base software is rather complex, but connectCAD really makes a lot of things easy. However, being the detail-oriented and complex designer that I am, somehow, I still managed to screw some things up in a recent drawing. I reached out to Conrad Preen (the primary developer and owner of connectCAD) to help me figure out what went wrong, and how to prevent the issue from happening again.
After a few (rather amusing) email exchanges, the problem is resolved. But, what is really fantastic is HOW it was resolved. I sent my drawing file along with the original inquiry, and Conrad did some investigating. He responded quickly, effectively, and personally with an assessment of the issue. Not only that, he then created a customized, step-by-step guide, personally directed to me, on how to fix the existing drawing, as well as various options for how to create the proper workflow moving forward. (Yes, there is a PDF, with screen-shots from my own drawing file, in my email titled, "Justin-how to fix your device symbols.pdf." And that's amazing.)
We spend a great deal of time dealing with really complicated issues every single day. There are lots of companies that treat us as small-potato, inexperienced amateurs, and very often, like complete idiots. Many of you have experienced similar issues when you call your cable service provider (I'm looking at you Time Warner Cable), and the tier-1 'customer service rep' starts down the list of really dumb questions: "Is the device plugged into the wall? Is the power indicator light on?" Me: "I just explained to you the very complicated troubleshooting process that I attempted on my own, including a complete reconfiguration of the internal parameters, which I did to try to avoid calling you in the first place, and yet you're asking me if the device is turned on?!" It's completely infuriating to be treated as though you're either ignorant, or don't matter.
So, all of that to say, it's really quite refreshing when a company really takes the time to listen to their customers, meticulously deal with the issues, and generate a timely and effective solution. To anyone else out there that runs a business, or that deals directly with customers on any level, take note. Listen to your customers. Take their concerns and issues to heart. Respond TIMELY and EFFECTIVELY. You don't have to be perfect. As Horst Shultze says, "All you need to do to succeed in business is to be better than the competition. You don't have to do that perfectly. You just have to do better."
Well done, connectCAD. Well done. You have a customer for life.