I just got back from a Costco run (why can’t I ever get out of there with my wallet intact?), and I overheard part of a conversation while looking at the PCs. This is what I heard a Costco floor rep telling a customer: “…and the tech support is done by experts, it is available 7 days a week, and you will always be connected to someone based in the US. Oh, and it is free!” As the floor rep was pulled aside to answer someone else’s question, I asked the customer which computer company the rep had been discussing. Turns out, it was Costco.
Costco is a membership-based warehouse club chain with stores throughout the United States. Costco has been listening to the frustrations of their members and has entered the realm of providing technical support to help ease their pain. According to a store supervisor that I spoke with, Costco will provide free technical support for televisions, cameras and camcorders, as well as desktop and notebook computers. The service has been available for about one week now in the Southern California area. It is part of their existing Concierge Services, which Costco started testing for high-tech TV installs this past summer.
Why is this a big deal? The point that stood out to me was their sign about the services, the first line of which assures members that they will be able to speak with someone in the US. All you consumer tech support companies, this is your wake-up call. Customers are tired of calling in for help and trying to carry on a conversation with someone who doesn’t speak English well. When companies with tech support departments really listen to their customers, and prioritize keeping existing customers, they will start to make choices that make customer experiences better. Today, many customer experiences with tech support are simply frustrating.
With the popularity of and the reasonable prices at Costco warehouses, this could easily increase the number of electronics that Costco is already selling, as the service is a great value-add. Especially since it’s free (unlike Best Buy’s Geek Squad). And for the life of the product (most tech support is only for 6 months to one year).
More and more of us are beginning to interact with tech support as electronics become more entangled in our lives. Do you know any companies that do tech support really well? Tell me about it, and I will share the stories.