The SoftLayer Customer... A Little Different?

January 6, 2010

I work in the support department at SoftLayer, and I can tell you that a day of answering phone calls and tickets is not what you might expect. SoftLayer customers are a little different from customers of other companies.

I know from my own experience dealing with cable/internet providers, electric companies, delivery companies, online stores, etc. that the only time I ever call is when I have received sub-standard service and something needs to be fixed. I am usually met with a person on the phone that either does not know the answer to (what seems to me) a simple question or simply does not hide the fact that they don’t care about my issue. I have always chalked this up to a company that has grown to the point that the original people who cared about their company are no longer in touch with the end user (customer). So, I wade through mountains of sludge to get to someone who can actually give me the information I need or maybe even fix my problem. Then, in the case of cable/internet, I wait… and wait… and wait… and…………………. wait for a technician who knows what they are doing to fix the actual problem. And, yes, it has taken three technicians on three different days and a supervisor being called out to my house to fix a problem in the past.

I was just talking to my manager, who related a recent experience in which he ordered the game “Rock Band” along with the Beatles CD from an online seller. The game arrived promptly, but the CD never came. It was shipped via the US postal service, and he simply received notice that they could not deliver it per their policy… What? When did the USPS stop delivering CDs per policy? Anyway, he called the USPS “customer service” and they denied everything up to and including the fact that they are still in the delivery business (huh?). He finally made it to a “supervisor” who denied they had the package, but stated that she would take down his information and have someone call him in two days to tell him what she already knew….that they did not have the package. Wow. That is amazing customer service! The story does end well. He contacted the online seller, who sent another CD immediately via another shipper free of charge. They even sent it overnight and simply asked that he return the first CD should he EVER receive it from the USPS.

SoftLayer is growing at an astronomical rate; and yet, I am proud to say we have maintained consistently superb customer service. As I said above, the only time I call a support line is when I have a problem needing a quick solution, and my unhappiness grows as I receive poor customer service. I continue to be amazed at how happy most of our customers here at SoftLayer are when I answer the phone. Even when they are experiencing a problem, they are generally in good spirits when I speak to them on the phone or reply back and forth through our ticketing system. I find this amazing. Of course, we deal with unhappy customers occasionally. But, on average, we deal with happy customers on a daily basis. I can only attribute this to the fact that they call or submit a ticket with the firm expectation of receiving excellent and timely support. They could only have this expectation because of their past experience with us. I honestly do not call my cable/internet company with any expectation other than long waits on the phone, uninformed support, and days of waiting before a problem is solved. I am NOT happy when I am forced to call them. This is the reason it is actually a pleasant experience to work in the support department at SoftLayer. Besides working around people who know their jobs, I get to speak with customers who are in a good mood even when they are experiencing problems. I love meeting their expectations by resolving whatever issue they may be experiencing quickly and completely—thereby helping them to continue on in great spirits throughout the rest of their day. I know that customers will be happy the next time they call. I would not enjoy working for the USPS customer service line or in the support department of that cable/internet provider as I know I would get nothing but unhappy people with an expectation of poor service. This is one way in which SoftLayer customers are different.

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