I came across a print ad in Wired Magazine the other day for Rackspace, a provider of managed hosting solutions, and the entire ad was devoted to their tagline "Fanatical Support is the difference." Intrigued at a campaign which seemed hinged on a word that typically evokes a negative reaction (fanatical), I read further. They have touched on a sensitive topic in the technology industry – the balance between lowering costs for service (particularly to "low margin, high demand" customers) and keeping customers happy. And people are talking about multiple service failures in the tech industry, from Dell’s Blog Hell to the dangers of the outsourcing model (if not done correctly).
Call center customer service has become a hit or miss proposition in many industries, depending on which individual you get on the phone, and most of the time this inconsistency is due to differing levels of knowledge. With tech support, people want someone who knows what they are doing. And training people, as well as getting them to stay long enough to get experience handling calls and dealing with issues is tough. But Rackspace has touched on something far more intangible, and often missing with even the most knowledgable support reps … you need someone who cares about helping you. That’s the difference. The little things matter. The fact that if you call and something doesn’t work, the person on the other line will do what it takes to fix it for you — whether they themselves know how to do it or not. That they will call you back with an answer. That’s what fanatical support means to me, and presumably what Rackspace wants it to mean for all their customers. I haven’t used their services, so I don’t know if they live up to their promise of fanatical support. But they do have a trademark for the term. And sadly for all of us, I can’t imagine they had much competition in the tech industry to get it.