TL;DR: It’s better to trust and empower Tier 1 than to make customers run through the gauntlet because you only allow Tier 3 to do certain things.
I want to share my support customer journey this week–not to complain, but to prompt some reflection on the CX implications of well-intentioned support policies.
- A week and a half ago, I get a somewhat cryptic error message (“Your account is disabled.”)
- I google and search in the vendor’s KB. There are no relevant articles for this error for my product, although there is a tempting one for a different product.
- I open a case online and get a quick reasonable response about uninstalling, rebooting, and reinstalling…a response that was not in the public KB
- I follow this resolution twice; it doesn’t fix the problem
- I start a chat last Saturday (when I have time to deal with this kind of thing). The chat agent successfully diagnoses the problem, says it requires Tier 2/3 to fix, and I should touch base on a weekday when the escalation teams are working. He’ll document it in the case notes. He can’t start the escalation himself—I need to connect back with them
- I start another chat on a weekday. They can’t escalate to Tier 2 from chat. I have to call in
- I call in, get my problem re-validated. Unfortunately, because of the two chat sessions, the case documentation is in three separate cases, which the Tier 1 agent is going to manually merge during after call work
- The phone agent escalates to Tier 2. Tier 2 re-re-validates my problem. They say Tier 3 is required. Tier 3 only works based on scheduled appointments.
- Tier 3 contacts me later by email to schedule an appointment. After some back and forth, we settle on a time this morning
- Tier 3 fixes the issue and validates the fix in about 13 minutes. It’s a well-known issue that everyone from Tier 1 to Tier 3 understood, but only Tier 3 could fix.
That cost me a week-and-a-half of downtime with this product, probably an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes of my time, extremely high perceived customer effort. And it cost them four Tier 1 interactions and one Tier 2 interaction, in addition to the one T3 interaction and engineering ticket that were actually required.
Naturally, I asked the T3 engineer (nicely) what the heck was up with having to talk with all of these people to get my issue fixed. He said he had to get something done on the back end which required opening a ticket with engineering, and his was the only team that could do that.
It sounds like a sensible policy…unless you’re the customer who is living with its implications. Please, please, journey map and understand the CX cost of not trusting Tier 1. If you absolutely need to restrict certain actions to Tier 3, please use Intelligent Swarming to get them involved at first contact.