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Customer support based around the thinking that any issue a customer is having is the customers’ fault is a no win situation.

I recently experienced an issue with the Fandango iPhone app. Although the problem was resolved without their help, Fandango’s customer support response provided an opportunity to discuss common customer service mistakes and how your business can avoid them.

Fandango iPhone App Entertainment screen

My support ticket:

The “I’m In” feature isn’t saving/adding movies to “My Movies” and all movies I saved prior are gone. This was the most important feature for me.

For those who have never used the Fandango app, tapping the “I’m In” button saves the movie to your personal list. It’s my favorite feature because if I miss seeing the movie in the theater, I can use the list for quick recall when at the store or RedBox.

Fandango’s response:

Dear Fandango Customer,

Thank you for your email and interest in Fandango.

If you are having issues with a Fandango mobile app loading information then we suggest that you delete the app and reinstall it. After deleting the app we suggest that you visit the proper Fandango app site and re-download the app in case there is a new version that has been released. Once you have downloaded the app once again you would follow the normal installation steps. If problems or issues are still occurring then you may want to contact your phone or phone providers tech support.

We hope this information helps and have a great day.

Best regards,

Phill
Fandango Customer Support

I have a few concerns with their customer support response;

1. The company doesn’t take ownership.
Fandango doesn’t consider, for even a second, there might actually be a bug in the app. Instead, any issue is directed at the user (not having the latest app) and tells me to delete and then make sure I’m reinstalling the latest version.

2. They’re passing the buck.
Fandango doesn’t come across as wanting to help. The number one goal of any customer support should be to solve the problem. And solving the problem doesn’t include passing the buck to the phone service provider if the suggested “solutions” don’t work.

3. Automated response?
I understand customer service involves a lot of time. And one way of expediting the support process is to automate responses. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Fandango’s response reads like it was written by a robot.

My Customer Support Recommendations

Address the PERSON

A customer service response starting with “Dear Fandango Customer” is very impersonal. It tells the customer you didn’t care enough to even fake a personal response. Even an automated response can have a salutation that addresses the customer by name or username. It’s a couple lines of code folks — not hard to do.

Show compassion

It’s important to understand that a customer who submits a support ticket or sends an email about a problem is frustrated — whether they say so or not. Additionally, people desperately want to be heard. A simple comment acknowledging their frustration will go a long way to keep emotions from escalating.

After addressing the salutation, my suggestion is to include a simple sentence such as, “I’m sorry to hear you’re having a problem with the “My Movies” feature and can understand how frustrating that must be. Let’s see if I can help get that resolved for you.

Write in a conversational manner

Noting is worse than reading a response that’s written like it’s coming from a robot. If there’s a name of a real customer service representative the bottom of the response, then it should sound like a real person wrote it. One simple way of doing this is using contractions. Instead of “If you are..” use, “If you’re…”. It sounds more human because that’s the casual way real people speak.

Offer a simple solution

Start with the easy stuff first before recommending lengthier and more time-consuming solutions.

For example, the first car I ever owned was a yellow, Mazda RX3 wagon. Rotary engine, anyone? As a generously used car, it had it’s share of engine problems. I recall one time when the car wouldn’t start. I tried everything I could think of to get it started but nothing worked. When I asked my brother for help, the first thing he said was, “Does it have gas?”.

I was so consumed with all the complicated possibilities of what might be wrong with the car, I completely overlooked the simplest solution. And sure enough, the car was out of gas. In my defense, the gas gauge was stuck. Well, that’s the story I’m sticking with.

I tell you this because after following Fandango’s customer support option of deleting the app, reinstalling the app, and starting it up.. the app still didn’t load/display my saved movies.

I then noticed a login/out option under “Account” settings. Hmm.

Fandango iPhone App Settings Screen

Even though I deleted and reinstalled the app, I was still logged in. I promptly tapped the “Sign Out” button and signed back in.

As simple as that, all my saved movies loaded into the app. Interestingly enough, that solution wasn’t included in Fandango’s options — it should have been the first option because it’s the simplest.

Don’t stop helping

As nice at it might sound, “We hope this information helps and have a great day.” comes across as a brush-off. You’ve helped, you’re done, and on to the next person.

The pro customer service tip is to keep offering help even after the issue is resolved.

Fandango could end the above response with something like, “If you still experience issues after trying the above options, please contact me.” And when the ticket is closed, end it with, “Thank you for using Fandango! Please feel free to contact us anytime.

 

If you’re business deals with people on any level, then you’ll encounter someone who needs customer support. So remember, the goal is to provide a pleasant experience because happy customers will bring you more customers.

I’d also like to point out that I’m not trying to pick on Fandango. I really like their iPhone app and the above customer support experience was the only interaction I’ve had with their company.

If you have ideas or processes you use for providing better customer service, please drop them in the comments below. I’d love to hear them.