Saturday, April 12, 2008

I am customer service overwhelmed!

Recently, I have upgraded my ancient Ericsson mobile phone to a Nokia 6110 Navigator. I chose the Navigator simply because of its purpose other than being a mobile phone.

At first, I was looking at Blackberrys because many of my colleagues have them (at work, we are free to choose our phones and subscriptions). The trend nowadays too is -- you are ‘cool’ if you carry a Blackberry (or an iPhone). As for me, I like the looks, the physical characteristics and design of the Blackberry Curve, and its savvy and impressive QWERTY keyboard too. So after a few weeks of online research, I was ready to go face up a dealer.

Talking to the dealer was a major enlightenment to the less gadget-sophisticated me. Dealer was very straightforward (thumbs up to Dutch sales people, most do not really beat around the bush, and they will not sell you something you do not need), he asked what I wanted in a phone and what I am going to use it for aside from telephoning – ah, nowadays the mobile telephone has reached new dimensions where telephoning is not the only feature worth selling. So I told him I just wanted a normal telephone, no bells and whistles, but it must have a GPS (the European Galileo will soon be available).

And he right away replied, “Then Blackberry is not the phone for you. You need to look at the Nokia Navigator.”

“Why is that? Doesn’t Blackberry also have a GPS?”

“Well yes, but they are an additional service unlike Nokia Navigator, the GPS service is already included in the package. PLUS, are you going to use emails in your telephone?”

I replied, “No” (I don’t want my work emails synchronized into my mobile telephone as this is simply irritating. I have a life outside work and I have the ability anyway to access my email, files, and the whole company network anytime, anywhere so there is no need – love technology!)

The dealer explained to me in detail the pros and cons of the Blackberry Curve vs. Nokia 6110 Navigator. I told him I will think it over and come back.

A week later I came back for the Nokia 6110 Navigator.

Oh dear, I am sooooo impressed with the talking GPS in it. The standard package includes the Benelux map (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxemburg). On the screen you can see the following: time to destination, number of kilometers to destination, your driving speed, gas stations and R&R nearby, number of meters you are from your exit (if you are on the highway, it reminds you 2 kilometers beforehand of your exit), and speed cameras. It also automatically corrects your position if you drive the wrong direction.

Nevertheless, I was a happy camper. I now do not have to rely on or and print those directions, I now have a GPS! Great timing as it is spring – time to hit and explore the Dutch towns, charming little villages, castles, and many more in my very long list. I can also hook the phone online and do email synchronization but why would I do this anyway when I have my computers at home and work plus my remote access?

The downside of this phone, and it goes with all other phones loaded with numerous software applications in it (so this issue is really nothing out of the ordinary) is the battery going out quicker than I thought, especially when the Navigator is on use. That’s why I specifically bought a car loader for this.

Anyway, about 3 weeks ago, the phone froze while I was trying to make a call. Rebooting was not an option so I took out the battery and then reloaded it. It was working fine again, but I thought to better call Nokia’s customer service to report the incident.

A customer service agent came on the line to answer my call but she could not transfer me to the right person as all technical service agents were engaged. She told me an agent will call me back.

A few days later, which was the following week, I received a call from the promised technical service agent. I was delighted! As a customer, I was happy they called back as I’ve heard of many daunting stories from disgruntled and disillusioned customers waiting for customer support organizations to call them back. So I told him about the frozen incident and asked why the battery lasts only a few days (3 days) – there was a time it lasted only a day. He said to double check if there are applications running in my phone, especially blue tooth, as this eats up a lot of battery shelf life. OK, fine.

Then last week, I received another call – in my voicemail, from Nokia technical support team. The technical service agent left a message asking if I am still experiencing the same problems with my phone, and to call a 0800 number if I needed further assistance. I thought it was cool of them to call back and ask. Wow, customer service at its finest.

Then just 2 days ago, I received another call. From Nokia technical support again! This time I answered the call and the technical support agent again asked if I am still experiencing the same problems with my phone. I told him I am observing my phone, and if the same issues still persist after a month or two, I will go to a service point for help, or perhaps exchange it for a new one as I have full warranty. He told me to download the PC Suite (which I already did) and make sure the software in my phone is all updated, and to only load the battery when it’s empty.

At any rate, I am quite overwhelmed with Nokia’s customer service in the Netherlands! THREE TIMES they called to check on my issue. It seemed like EVERY WEEK a technical service agent called to follow up if I am still experiencing the same problems. Are they actually doing this to every customer that submits a support ticket?

On the other hand, I noticed that the Dutch accent of the agents were quite different. I thought they all have an allochtoon accent (foreign accent), but they could also be from the Limburg province or Flanders in Belgium. Maybe Nokia’s customer support is down south.

Well, all I know, they seem to be pretty much on top of what they are doing. At least their customer attentiveness helped level out the issues I’ve had with the phone so far.

And no, this is not a sponsored post – I do not believe in the new online advertising concept of ‘pay per post’ and ‘paid to blog’. Not only they are a total waste of time offering inconsequential amounts of money vs the effort, they destroy the value and integrity of true customer experience.

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