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Thursday, August 06, 2015

Inspired By a Technical Suport Call--Will Miracles Never Cease?

Often when I'm calling customer service, especially for technical support issues with computer or software trouble, the call is frustrating and often a painful waste of time. I often encounter people who really don't know enough about the technology they are supporting to provide serious help. Sometimes I have to say, "May I please speak with your supervisor?" in order to reach someone who can actually help. Yesterday, though, I asked that question for a completely different reason: I was stunned and delighted with the quality of support my wife and I were receiving, and I wanted to make sure the company knew.

My wife was having some serious issues with her iPhone that we felt really needed tech support. We were both tired, but to catch Apple tech support during their business hours, we made a late evening call from China, and quickly reached a man named Chris. No long waiting--very nice. As we described a serious of issues and problems that would baffle many tech support call centers, he patiently walked us through a number of steps and helped us troubleshoot very efficiently. I was impressed with his cheerful, friendly tone. It was like an old friend kindly helping us out.

He not only knew his stuff, but he knew how to explain things to ordinary mortals to help them better understand, and did it all in a positive, friendly way that made it fun to chat with him. At one point, as he helped us understand what had gone wrong in a previous software update, he started using a home-spun analogy about what might happen to a patient getting brain surgery if the patient were dragged away from the doctors in the middle of surgery. It was hilarious, and I had to jump in at that point.

"Chris, as someone who has been jaded for years over bad tech support calls, I have to say this is the most positive, even delightful tech support experience we've had. I wish I could talk to your boss to let him know!"

"Actually, he's right here, if you'd like to."

"Yes, absolutely!"

I found that he had a boss with a sense of humor and enough patience to listen to a couple of delighted customers praise his employees. When I mentioned his clever analogies, the boss chuckled because this was a trademark of Chris's style. He's a natural teacher who uses a variety of tools to help his customers.

Wow. It was like being in a different dimension. An out of body experience. I came away from a tech support call not feeling upset and frustrated, but actually inspired. I don't mean to promote any particular company, but I do want to promote the positive example that Chris set for us.

What would life be like in the Church if we could provide that kind of friendly, positive, attentive "technical support" to our members when they have questions and problems? What if home teachers and visiting teachers gave that kind of energy to their work? What if bishops and other local leaders could consistently imitate Chris's great example? They do a great job in many cases, but sometimes we tend to overlook the sincerity and the deep needs behind tough questions asked by members or investigators. "Pray about it" or "Reinstall your testimony" may not sufficiently helpful responses. We may not have answers, but helping others get in contact with those who do would be much better than ignoring the problem. "Please hold" and an endless round of the Tabernacle Choir is not going to solve the problem.

Great customer service can work wonders. Let's pay more attention to how we serve and stay cheerful, positive, and helpful. Of course, that's what we should all know, but this little episode brought that message home to me in a new way.

Part of what made the call so fun for us was being able to praise someone to their boss. Perhaps when we see great things from those who serve us, thanking them and letting others know might make things even better and encourage the kindness we experienced.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The church makes its biggest announcement in the last 20 years, with leaders nowhere in sight, and this is the thing you post? Testimonies from sea to shining sea are being rocked right now (no pun intended) and we get this chicken soup for our souls? Now is the time for apologists to step up their game.
By the way, your conclusion above is very confusing. Does the church need to be kinder or do members? Are you calling the upper eschelon leadership of the church unkind, or are you laying this accusation at the feet of its hapless members? Would the world be a better place with kinder apostles, who appear at press conferences to spread kindness rather than wring their hands about marriage rights? Or would the world be a better place if I'm nicer when I inconvenience Brother Jones and his family one afternoon and stare at them in awkward silence while fumbling through the Ensign for 20 minutes.

Clark Graham said...

Thanks for this! It's the little things that link humanity, and I think we are hungry for a sense of connection. Calls like this can be aggravating beyond belief. I encountered one once, a nice guy who,instead of making me listen to alleged 'music' while we waited for something to reboot, asked about my last vacation. It led to a funny conversation about a trip up a river with his finicky mother in law. Some random guy in Nicaragua,who I'll never meet, lightened my long wait on the phone, then he solved my problem and assured me there are more vacations out there. Was it Important? Not much; but I felt better. Yes, there are Dire Things ---this is the last days period, after all---but all is not doom and gloom and I appreciate this post.

Orbiting Kolob said...

I once had an experience similar to Clark's -- while we were waiting on the phone, the techie told me some stories about his time in Nicaragua doing clandestine training work in the 1980s. One of these stories was actually about how the Nicaraguans ended up teaching the Americans a thing or two, such as how to eat the brain of a freshly shot monkey while the monkey was still alive. (Apparently it tastes best that way. Shades of Hannibal Lecter).

Jeff Lindsay said...

Anonymous, sorry you didn't like this. I disagree that the seer stone story is the biggest news in 20 years -- it's quite old news, but with an added photo that is interesting, yet not earth shaking. But I do have a post just out this morning on the topic if you're interested.

As for what I meant in this "chicken soup" post, I mostly mean that anonymous commenters should be a little nicer to bloggers. On top of that, local members dealing with curious questions from other members struggling with issues would do well to not blow them off and just say, "Pray about it" or "Reinstall your testimony," but to work to help them find answers or whatever they really need. I am not indicting anyone in particular, but feel that many of us, myself included, could be more helpful when people need spiritual tech support.

Jennifer Neal said...

I work for the church in an entry-level position, and I have been blown away by the inspired leadership and training I receive. It's not a constant bombardment of gospel teaching or any such thing, we just do our work. But I see how truly living the gospel has given my boss and supervisors incredible insight into how to treat employees, and what kind of opportunities we need to succeed and have a great time. I recently read an article on the things that managers do that cause their best employees to quit, and I was absolutely amazed by how correct I felt it was and how perfect my manager is at avoiding those things. She does everything right, and I don't think it's because she's been trained in what not to do or how to placate people. I think it's because she's living the gospel, and that in itself is totally enlightening. Not everyone at my job has her understanding, but I and those who do get an opportunity to train and bless those individuals! It's amazing. It's a simple little job, but I find myself never wanting to leave.