I am reading Carmine Gallo’s book, [amazon_link id=”0071793208″ target=”_blank” ]The Apple Experience[/amazon_link], on Apple’s approach to building customer loyalty through insanely great customer service. Since starting the book, I am paying more attention to customer service. It is surprising how often isn’t great.

Today I had to call Primus to ask about the speed of our office internet connection. The first thing that surprised me is that I had to call Primus at all. I would think that they would specify on the invoice what service they are providing, but it isn’t there. Browsing on their website didn’t help either as there are no indications of the cost for any of their business DSL internet services. I found a “Speed Test” on their site but got an “Expired License” error. So I called.

The first person I talked to couldn’t help either and forwarded me to customer service. After some frustrating discussion about the fact that I am not an authorized account contact, customer service transferred my call to technical services. Thankfully from the third person I talked to I was able to get the information that I was looking for.

However, I wasn’t quite out of the woods yet. I suggested to the technical services representative that a description of the service rendered would be useful information to include on the customer’s invoice. He replied he couldn’t do anything about that. It was the job of the finance department. I had already figured that one out.

I mentioned the “Expired License” Speed Test, thinking that he might be able to do something about that. He directed me to another Speed Test and told me that I shouldn’t be using the “Expired License” link. I replied that he might want to have the broken one fixed. His reply, “You shouldn’t be using that one.” I carefully explained that even if I wanted to I couldn’t, that probably it was something that Primus needed to fix. Finally the light seemed to dawn. He would send a note to the web team.

It was definitely not an Apple experience! But unfortunately it was a fairly typical phone company experience.

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