Customer Service the new Marketing

TLDR ||Customer service is the new Marketing” – these words speak and resonate with me. They affect me, they should do the same to you. – plus I like to walk around.

Walkabout Vision

Round one at Microsoft I worked in building 34. My group had one office move during my tenure. We moved from the second floor to the first floor. Round one at Microsoft I also trained to provide tours of the Microsoft Home of the Future in the executive Briefing center (EBC) building. My personal Microsoft world consisted of building 34, the mostly attached Café, and the EBC next door. I never had need or created the effort to explore the rest of campus. Since returning I’ve been on a mission to explore every building my badge will allow, and I’m getting close to accomplishing that goal.

This map might not be the best having builds that don’t exist, but it was the prettiest public map I could find – X marks where I’ve been.

Kicked in the Guts – Admitting Guilt

Now why you are here. I was on a walk-about recently and some words on the wall in a hall kicked me in the guts. They kicked me hard in the guts hards.

I’ve been in the role of fixing busted things on cloud based Exchange servers for Microsoft for 5 years next month. The group I work in deals with the larger customers who desire extra special attention. Luckily my group is mostly isolated from customers by another group who’s supposed to act as tier 1-3 before escalating an issue to us. Some of the tickets we get don’t meet the bar that I’d call Tier 4—or 1 for that matter.

Over my years working here, the horrible escalations from customers and the front end support team (MOSSUP) have made me jaded. I’ve developed a bad habit of closing tickets as “won’t fix” without being as helpful as I should be and taking out my annoyance on the ticket. Most of my frustration is not with customers, it’s with the team in the middle. Most, not all of it; some customers annoy me, and I might let it affect how I work. Letting my frustration come out is not the norm of how I operate but it does happen.

My common method of operation is to go above and beyond to solve issues. I’ve never had an issue providing customers with my work or personal cell number, my email address, or access to my Lync account. All of the comments on the wall spoke to me, but one of them spoke directly to my frustration coming out closing tickets as “won’t fix” – the Quote “It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.” My one being-a-jerk comment could result in the customer hating us for a long time.

The quote – and effect

The quote that caught my eye as I was walking by was “Customer Service is New Marketing.” It hit me, and made me back up to read the rest of the wall. Then I stood there for a bit to take pictures, read the rest, and think. About two hours before reading the wall I closed a ticket out of annoyance and frustration and was not as helpful as I could have been – I know how valuable customer service is. House shopping, I avoid Comcast if I can because I have PTSD from calling them for support – and my brother in-law works there– but their support is so horrible, they are the worst company ever. Shopping for things, I default to Amazon because their service is amazing. They’ve bought me as a customer for life because of great service.

I’ve been on incident bridges where you know the customer is frustrated, they are pissed, it took them an hour to get to me, and no one understands them. Then I start to talk smart talk and make them feel understood, let them know I’m empowered and capable of fixing their issue. You can feel the customer relax with every word. You can feel their anger and frustration leave them because they know they’ve finally reached the person who can help them. It’s an amazing thing to experience on a phone call. I cherish those times and memories.

I’ve experienced getting, and giving amazing customer service and I’m well aware of how massive the effects can be on a customer – same for bad customer service. But complacency has set in. I’ve been doing this for 5 years and growing in habits I don’t think about often

What to change

The words on the wall were a kick in the guts to me. I drove home thinking about them, stayed up in bed writing and thinking about them, I had a dream about them, started this blog post, walked back over to the building again to read them, then I thought some more about them. I deeply NEEDED this kick to force me to reset my attitude towards MOSSUP and my customers. I’m feeling everyone on my team also needs this kick and reset.

Going forward I’m committing to treating everyone in support inside Microsoft and our customers consistently with max level customer service I’m able to provide. No more letting my annoyance and being jaded solve tickets with words that would annoy me if I received them as a customer.

More words from the wall

More words from the wall of inspiration that might speak to you – seriously thinking I need to get a tattoo of one of these on my forearm to prevent me from ever falling into a hole of jaded again.

We are in the business of customer satisfaction

Customer service shouldn’t just be A department, it should be the entire company

Customer service is the new marketing

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