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Newsletter #1042: The “Brilliant Customer Service” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

For as many customer service stories there are out there to make us cringe, there are just as many that make us say, “that’s brilliant!”

These three companies have come up with remarkable ways to make service better for their customers as well as their employees:

1. Freeze a lost credit card
2. Check an app’s bug status
3. Get rid of waiting rooms
4. Check it out: Ancient customer service complaint

1. Freeze a lost credit card

Most of the time, misplacing your credit card is a big deal. To keep it out of the wrong hands, you have to call your bank, deactivate it, and get a new one sent to you in something like 5-10 business days. And it only adds insult to injury when you find that the original credit card wasn’t even lost after all. So Discover created a “Freeze It” feature. That way, you can use your phone to freeze your card immediately and temporarily until you find it and reactivate it yourself. It’s so simple, but it takes a lot of anxiety out of a common problem.

The lesson: Removing annoying obstacles is not just better for your customers, it also frees up your employees to handle more pressing customer issues instead.

Learn more: Chicago Tribune

2. Check an app’s bug status

Simple, a banking service, has a web page that lays out a history of all of their mistakes. Their Status page shares real-time information on bugs within their platforms and issues with certain features. It also lists a history of each issue and update, including how long it took to fix it and how long they’ve gone without a problem. That way, when you think something’s wrong with your phone app, instead of calling Simple’s customer service, you can check the status page to see if there’s a bug they’re working on.

The lesson: Being that open and honest about your mistakes might seem daunting, but for Simple, transparency actually makes them look good. Think of all of the calls, emails, and angry tweets Simple is avoiding by being completely upfront about what’s working and what’s being fixed in real-time.

Learn more: Simple

3. Get rid of waiting rooms

No one likes waiting in a doctor’s waiting room. So some clinics, like CareNow in Texas, have implemented web check-in. Patients can register and check in online from home for their appointment. Then, the clinic will call them to come into the clinic once the doctor is ready to see them. Their insurance payments are already verified, their medical chart’s ready, and their room is prepped. No hanging around in the waiting room just to wait longer in the exam room.

The lesson: Patients have a better experience, and CareNow has an easier time coordinating their appointments and paperwork. It’s a mutual benefit that makes a big difference.

Learn more: CareNow

4. Check it out: Ancient customer service complaint

Poor customer service has been around for a long, long time. Just check out this 3,765-year-old tablet with a customer service complaint written to a Babylonian merchant for his poor quality copper and bad attitude.

Check it out: Geekologie

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