Beware a drop in complaints

Like many businesses, we have an external company who provide our IT support. They are very good, quick to respond, and can usually fix our problems quickly. They also provide a monitoring service which identifies potential problems in time for them to be fixed before we are even aware of them.

All good then?

Well, not quite. We suffer from regular IT glitches – software crashes, laptop freezes, updates that remove customised settings etc. I’m sure you have experienced them too. The first time one of these problems occurs, I call the IT support team and then they call back later to fix it. Often this involves them having remote access to my computer, which is great, but of course means I can’t do any work on it until they are finished.

The second time it happens, I ring again and go through the same process. When it keeps happening, I start to get irritated – not with my IT support guys, but with IT in general and the choice I am forced to make between loss of functionality and lost productivity while it is being fixed. It’s particularly galling when I’m paying a monthly subscription fee to the software provider and need to make repeated requests to a so-called ‘support line.’

Eventually, for repetitive minor problems, I stop calling. I restart the programme, or even my computer instead. Sometimes that fixes it, sometimes I just find a way to work around it. I wonder what the IT company make of my behaviour. Perhaps they think things are improving as I don’t report as many problems as I used to?

A change in customer behaviour should always be a trigger to find out more. When, on the surface it looks like good news, it’s easy to take it at face value and move on. A polite “we’ve noticed you haven’t reported any problems recently” style enquiry by phone or email will confirm if it really is good news or, if like me, the customer is suffering from ‘complaint fatigue’ and lost the will to report problems any more. The next time your customer service team report a reduction in complaints with a big grin on their faces, you might just want to ask them why it has happened?