Before you buy any digital product or service you should be doing some comparative shopping. Internet marketing tends to be direct response marketing, which means the sales pages you come across are encouraging you to make a snap decision to purchase. But if the customer service for a digital product isn’t good then you run a big risk by not doing your homework before you buy. In other words, you should be exposing bad customer service before you buy. At least you should have a clear understanding of what type of customer service is available.
In my experience, there are few moments in life more frustrating than sitting in front of a computer screen trying to figure out why the software I just bought isn’t doing what I thought it would do. What makes that moment almost impossible is not having anywhere to turn for answers. Digital products and services are built on lines of code. One small keystroke in the wrong place and there’s a problem. If you’re not a coder that’s an intimidating problem unless there’s access to great customer support. So before buying digital products of any sort, I think the best place to begin is checking out the customer support that will be available after the purchase.
Exposing Bad Customer Service
There are several ways of going about this, but one of the first things I do is think about the great customer support I get at my hosting service. I use that as the basis for comparison. I use Hostgator and I know their customer service culture is competitive. By that I mean the customer service team members compete with each other to see who can answer all the calls they take with correct answers and great interpersonal interaction. They have a customer service culture that is out to keep their customers satisfied and they take it very seriously. Yes, I have had a rare mediocre answer to a problem, but on the overall, they are very good, so that’s what I use a basis for judging other digital customer service.
It’s easy to Google search the name of a new digital product or service and ask, “is customer support for …… any good?” Different results come up for different products, but if none of the first page entries say anything about customer service (right there on the Google page) then that’s a red flag. In fact, if the company that is offering the product isn’t the first or second entry on that Google front page that’s also a problem and if the company that is offering the product’s customer support access isn’t listed as one of the first page entries (top of the page) then that’s even a more telling sign.
If you’re buying software from a small developer then you may not find much coming up on a Google search, so that has to be handled differently; especially if the product is new. In this case I go directly to the website where the product is being sold and look for what they say about customer support. I want to know when it’s available and how long a wait I’m likely to face before I get a response. I’m also interested in knowing is their a full-time dedicated person who handles customer service as a part of daily work. Are they available five days a week or seven days a week? Are they available in the evening? Do they use a ticket system? Is the developer directly involved with customer support? If there isn’t any information about these questions then I try to contact the company by phone or email and ask them directly. I want to know what will happen when I’m frustrated and confused about their product.
I Was Fortunate They Had Good Customer Service
The first time I bought software from an internet portal, I was so excited about what I thought the software could do for me that I didn’t do any comparative shopping. I was sold on Camtasia Studio screen recorder because an internet marketer who I knew was using it, had raved about it. I bought it and started using it also, and it all went well until I started editing. That was more technical and I needed answers. TechSmith, the company that produces Camtasia was available by phone during the work week, during business hours. They were good at solving problems and they were patient with my flustered questions.
Another good thing about TechSmith is they are in Michigan and their customer service is done from their main offices. Other companies outsource their technical support or if they keep it in-house they place the customer support group somewhere far away from the main business offices. That can be a problem. The advantage for TechSmith, in having their customer support right there with their other offices is the customer support people are aware of all the issues people are asking the sales team and that can help them trouble shoot any issues that come to light through the sales process.
It takes patience and extra time to research the back offices of any product, but when you’re buying a digital product I think you have to know what to expect from technical support. It’s far better exposing bad customer service before you buy than experiencing frustration and outrage after you own a product. Digital problems can be unusually frustrating an it’s comforting to know how to go about solving problems if they arise.