Have you ever gotten a canned response from a support organization and feel that it actually was helpful? Has it ever made you a happy customer?
My guess is that your response 80% of the time is: “I already knew that.” or “Did you even read what I wrote?”
On the customer support delivery side, the problems can be worse.
- You get a false sense that you are resolving issues because you think you were able to share helpful information and deflect a call. In actuality you just either drove another contact on the same issues, or hurt the customer experience or both.
- You lose whatever information that contact might have yielded about your products and services.
- It’s the old joke – if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. For your support team – if you have a canned response, lots of client contacts look like ones that a canned response will solve.
Here’s a real life example:
This is me reporting via a valid support channel an issue that I think my Online Bank would want to know about:
As I am trying to switch my Bill pay over from another bank, I am getting an error message for every single payee mailing address I enter. The form keeps saying that you cannot validate the address with the US Postal Service. Something must be technically wrong with your site as all of these addresses are completely correct and valid and check out on the USPS web site and were validated by my previous bank. You appear to have a problem with whatever code is trying to validate addressed on the USPS API.
Notice, I didn’t say I had an immediate issue. Anyone who knows how their Bill Pay set up works would know that you can continue with an address that is not validated, they just warn you on that and make you go through an extra click or two. I was just alerting them to a problem and I used language that should have indicated that I was not just some unsophisticated user who couldn’t type in an address correctly.
So this should have been valuable information that you’d think they would want to know and would forward to their support or technical teams to at least check out…But no a few keywords match, so let’s send a canned response (edited to remove some Bank specific information):
Hello XXXX YYYY ,
Thank you for taking the time to contact Ally Bank for Bill Payee setup assistance. We apologize for the delay in responding to your e-mail and appreciate your patience and understanding.
As our Bill Pay Team is out of the office until Monday morning at 9 AM EST, please give us a call between 9AM and 5PM EST so that we may contact the Bill Pay Team directly for a quick resolution to your Bill Payee issue.
For immediate assistance with any of your banking requirements, please give our Contact Center a call and a Bank representative will be happy to assist you. For your convenience, we are here for you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and you can contact us via our toll free number 1-800… , Secure E-Mail which you can set up through your online profile or you can always chat with us online at http://www.ally.com, whichever method applies.
It has been our pleasure to assist you. Have a wonderful weekend surrounded by family and friends!
Bank Customer Service
That’s a very nice reply in many aspects. Great tone, lot’s of good information on support channels, etc. But …”Did you even read what I wrote?”
What I might have expected –
“Thank you for reporting this problem. We’ll have our Bill Pay team look into the area you mentioned. If you are having any issues getting Bill Pay set up, we can assist you with that…”
I would have felt a lot better that they actually read and understood my note. I realize that there is a lot of noise in a big support operation like this one, but There really is a technical problem in their system and they now will not get the chance to fix it for a while longer, because a canned response was ready to deploy…
P.S. It is OK to have canned templates to cover common language and contact information and even general support wording, but the minute you move from templates that requires support agent thought and writing to customize for the situation, to fully canned, you’ve crossed from helpful and efficient to creating a wayward hammer.