Documentation and a Tale of Four Phone Calls

The following is a post from Tricia Keels, Social Media Manager here at CTS.

What I like most about Tricia’s story is that it demonstrates how great systems and training can make a high effort experience as effortless as possible. While the product design could be more customer friendly (wait until the screwdriver part), the call center handled the situation like champs from beginning to end.

And now, Tricia…


large_6005186410Electronics and I don’t mix. Electronics and our 11-year-old son, Atticus, do. So you can imagine how upset he was to find his little sister had shoved the SD card into his Nintendo 3DS backwards. The thing never worked the same after that. It was time to call customer support.

My expectation was that I was going to waste my entire afternoon on hold, not understand what the techie was saying to me, and endure lots of noise, not only from my three kids running around, but from a noisy call center as well. You can see why I didn’t want to pick up the phone.

But, I love our son, and he bought this Nintendo 3DS with his own money, and it wasn’t even a year old.

What actually happened was the exact opposite of my expectations.

As customer service professionals, we are always thinking of ways to respect our customers’ time. Nintendo’s documentation, their expert call center reps, and their patience with us flipped this on its head. In the end, they had me, the customer, respecting their time as we navigated the steps to get this device fixed.

Call Number One

We get to a customer service rep right away. I’m already relieved. The rep guides our conversation and listens to our story. He asks us to put the original SD card back into the device and read him the exact error message. Turns out Atticus can’t find the original SD card. The rep tells us he’ll wait, and we can take our time. But he doesn’t know our son — that the search could take days.

As Atticus searches, the rep educates me that only Nintendo SD cards are guaranteed to work and that maybe the off-brand card was the problem. Since we couldn’t find the original, we took our reps advice and ordered a new one to see if that solved the problem.

Call Number Two

Days later Atticus shouts, “I found the card.” We high-five and make call number two.

Our new sales rep asks for our phone number and immediately he is up to speed on our call history. I am shocked and pleased that I don’t have to hassle with repeating the story or the steps we had already taken. He tells us to pop the card in and read him the error message. That’s when Atticus discovers the device is dead.

I ask him to get the charger while the rep enlightens me that our SD card is backordered. He offers to cancel the order since we found ours. Great. Done. Atticus comes back to me. “I can’t find the charger.”

The rep again says not to worry. He will wait. But, as I said before, this could take days, so we hang up.

Call Number Three

Charger found in record time. We call back just an hour later.

New rep. Straight to the issue. It’s like we never hung up.

Atticus reads out the error message, and the rep doesn’t think it’s the card. He thinks we should send it back for repair. He happily tells me it’s still under warranty, so this is no cost to us, and he will take care of everything.

“So, let me have the serial number off the box,” he says. The box. Hmmmmm? We don’t have that. “No problem,” he says, “you can unscrew the back and you’ll find the number right next to the battery pack.” Easy enough, we just need the tiniest screwdriver, which is in the utility drawer. Except when it’s not. The rep again tells us to take our time, and he will wait.

Thanks to the way this company documented each call, what I thought would be a test of my patience turned out to be an incredibly helpful experience where each phone call felt like an extension of the last.

At this point, I realize how hassle-free this call center is. Each call was answered promptly. I hadn’t repeated myself once. And each rep was knowledgeable and patience. In the end, because their documentation was so thorough, I was able to respect their time and let them help other customers while we searched the house.

Call Number Four

Found it! I call back, we pop off the back, and within minutes they have a shipping label in my inbox. All we need to do is pack it up and drop it off. The end of the story is we have a boy with a fixed Nintendo 3DS.

And a great example of how customer service documentation and training can save customers and your call center reps a lot of time.

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By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.

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