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Good Customer Service Is Important

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Good customer service is something important to me. In my own
work in publishing, I try hard to deliver some basics of good customer service
in my responses through email or on the phone or in the mail. It is important to
be timely and thorough in this process.

There are countless examples of companies that don't practice
good customer service and I wanted to point out a recent example. For the last
several years I get my internet connection, landline and television bundled
through CenturyLink. Overall I've been pleased with their service and
responsiveness. My wife and I enjoy using our DVR to record television programs
then watch them together. We watch a variety of different types of programs.

Last Sunday I went to one of the standard stations— CBS and
found a message from DirectTV (the television arm of CenturyLink). Apparently
DirectTV and CBS are in “negotiations” for service and that service is now
disrupted—i.e. you can't get it. No one knows how long these “negotiations” are
going to be going on. I called the billing area of CenturyLink and learned this
disruption was a complete surprise to them as well. DirectTV did nothing
proactive to warn their customers. They simply put up a screen on the

In this article from the Wall Street Journal, I
discovered I was one of 6.6 million people having this experience with DirectTV.
Someone at DirectTV  knew this was going to happen and they did nothing
proactive to help their customers. Apparently there is some local cable where
you can still get the channels when you attachment. I've been trying for the
last few days to get one of these local connectors from DirectTV but they are
“back ordered” (little surprise here). The package finally came but it is not a
simple fix with pages of instructions and various wires and connections (not
hooked up at my place yet).

I'm certain with the millions of customers involved and missing
a standard network channel, someone at CBS and DirectTV are doing some
consistent work to resolve this customer service nightmare. My key point in this
article is some of these people knew this was going to happen and they did
nothing to warn their customers or partners like CenturyLink (at least that is

Here are some basics for good customer service:

1. Answer your phone and return your phone calls.

2. Answer and respond to email.

3. In your answers, attempt to resolve the issues if possible. I
can think of several emails from Morgan James authors this past week where I
wasn't the right person to answer the author's question. I still responded and
pointed them to other people on the team who could provide the answers. At least
they heard a response from me—even if not the response they wanted.

How important is good customer service to you? How do you handle
it in your own writing life? Let me know in the comments below.


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