All entries for Tuesday 15 November 2005

November 15, 2005

Typepad customer service

I have a Typepad account as well as a Warwick blog. Typepad have had some well-publicised difficulties with availability recently; demand on their servers grew steadily, they had problems with a move to a bigger facility and generally over the last month or so, their customers have had a poor experience in terms of the availability of their blog.

But what's instructive about this is not the technical problems – everyone gets those – but the exemplary way in which they've communicated with their customers. First, they wrote very openly about the difficulties they were having. Next, they kept their customers informed about the progress of their fixes. Finally, yesterday, they reported that the problems were now resolved.

So top marks for a continuous dialogue with their customers. But the icing on the cake comes with the screengrab that I've posted above. Every Typepad customer got an email yesterday explaining that Typepad want to compensate them for the poor service they'd experienced. If you do nothing, Typepad automatically give you 15 days free service. Notice how it isn't opt-in; you don't have to tell them that you want the 15 days, they give it to you by default. But even smarter, they've allowed their customers to decide how badly inconvenienced they've been and thus if they feel entitled to more compensation than the default offering. So I can choose to increase the compensation from 15 to 30 or 45 days – or, if I haven't noticed any problems, I can decline the compensation altogether. And to top it off, they ask for my feedback as to whether there's anything they could have done better.

If there's an award for "Single smartest customer relations dialogue box of the year" then this should win it. And if there isn't, there should be. I wonder if there's anywhere round here that could learn a thing or two from this approach?

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