Mathias' Blog

Occasional musings and technical posts…

24 Feb 2021

Good (and Bad) Customer Service

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had a higher than normal number of interactions with various online companies. This post is partially motivated by frustration with a couple of my experiences, but I figured I should balance that out with some public praise of good companies.

The good

  • Lego
    I received a set, and while building it discovered that a part was missing. This was the first time I’d ever got a set that was legitimately missing a piece. After digging through my parts bin, I couldn’t find a replacement, so I went to their missing parts service. Requesting a replacement part was super easy – enter the set number, then the part number. Fill out your shipping info, and poof!, the new piece was on its way to my doorstep. It was a very easy process and reinforced Lego’s commitment to quality.

  • Linode
    Some networking changes needed to be made for my hosted servers that was beyond normal settings in the control panel. They have pretty good documentation that gave the details to open a support ticket with all the technical information they would need. Submitted, and within a couple of hours the changes were complete and I could start utilizing them.

  • NameCheap
    The DNS glue records for my domains needed to be updated, and the web interface has a known issue with IPv6 addresses. I opened a support ticket with the technical details, and within a couple of hours the updates were made. Not quite as smooth as I’d like, but very easy to work around, and thankfully not that frequent of a change.

The bad

  • H&R Block
    The 2020 version of their tax software has a bug which was preventing me from filing my taxes. The response I got when I tried to report the issue? “Pay us an additional $50 to speak with a tax expert.” (No, this is not a tax question, it’s a bug. I’m already paying you like $30 – I’m not going to pay you more to report a bug.)

    Eventually my complaint got escalated to another support person, or more accurately, I got put into a queue with the promise I’d be able to talk to a higher level support person. The line counter slowly ticked down, until at position #2, I suddenly got the message “Chat session ended. If you need additional help, please start a new session.” That’s just bad.

    Oh, and it took their “service” took so long to get to me that I was able to actually call the IRS and speak to a person there who confirmed my tax documents were correct and that I was reading the numbers correctly. Hard to get a higher authority on taxes than the IRS.

    Suffice it to say, H&R Block will never see another cent from me.

  • Zoom
    Zoom claims IPv6 support. They’re lying. Don’t believe me? Do a DNS lookup and try to find the AAAA records. (Hint – there aren’t any.)

    Zoom has an online support form, so I submitted a ticket asking for clarification. Seconds later I got an automatic ticket close message: “we are unable to respond to your open tickets at this time.” But, if I want to pay them, I’m sure they’d be happy to receive a ticket. That’s never going to happen.

    I sent a reply to some of their publicly-listed contact addresses, but several days later I haven’t heard so much as a peep. Zoom is pretty close to garbage in my book.

A final observation (although not scientifically rigorous) – the three companies I’ve highlighted here have very easy ways to leave public feedback as well as open a support ticket. The two bad ones have neither. Almost as if they know they’re not going to get good reviews…