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Customer Service: It Takes A Village

On July 22 I shared with you a challenge I was having with my accounting software, Sage, and how it was influencing my thoughts on customer service. Not only did I receive great comments on the post, it ended up inspiring numerous online, phone and boardroom conversations.

First … spoiler alert … my specific situation has been investigated by Sage and a full resolution is expected this coming week. Here’s what it took to make that happen:

  1. After many thwarted attempts to deal with my issue through billing and customer service and through a company Senior Director, I decided to write about my experience and what it indicates about our relationship with our providers. I made the decision not to mention Sage directly in the post, as I believe the issues apply to many (many) companies.
  2. My amazing business coach, Stephanie Coldwell, read the post and easily identified the company. Why? Well, she knows me, and my business, but she also has several clients who are having similar experiences. She immediately got in touch with Mark Hubbard, National Program Manager – Accountants (Canada), whom she had recently met in a Sage webinar, and sent him the link to my blog.
  3. Mark becomes the catalyst. He has email correspondence and phone conversations with Stephanie … and he calls me directly. In our initial conversation, he tells me that the content of my blog post has not only been shared locally (Vancouver) but with North American support teams and support managers: “As a direct result…” he shares, “it has populated about 3 meetings on my calendar at this point but I figure it will probably populate a total of closer to 20 or 30.”  Amazing!
  4. My spectacular bookkeeper, Cathy Cornelius, also gets involved, communicating with Mark, sharing my data with a support analyst and several other steps.
  5. At this point, what I know to be true is that I was being billed for a product I was not using and was using a more expensive version of the product than I needed. All of this will be reflected in future billings. Hooray!


  1. For ConsumersShare your story with many people. You need to find “the catalyst” within an organization that is dedicated enough, interested enough, smart enough and willing to take the time to truly listen.
  2. For ProvidersYour customers know things! Their knowledge impacts the growth and health of your company. Start listening. You may find out that your phone system is defeating the efforts of the support team, creating an increase in angry users and losing you business.



2 thoughts on “Customer Service: It Takes A Village”

  1. I always make it a point to tell whoever I am able to get on the phone at these places
    the difficulties I encountered along the twisted way w/ their phone systems. Sometimes I hear
    the boredom in their voices and I challenge them by asking, “Do you care?” ‘Oh, yes!” most exclaim but I know they really don’t and the last thing they really want to be doing is dealing w/ a vexed customer who managed (“how did she do that?” you can hear them thinking) to get through their phone system to them. Companies are either purposely making it difficult to get through or whoever they’re hiring to set these things up has a very poor design and companies never call to experience the frustration their customers encounter when calling.

    • Thanks for these comments, Maureen. I do believe that many organizations purposefully make the system complicated. I also believe that some organizations simply don’t know how complicated the system has become. Different managers or departments have asked for different aspects to the system and no “one” person has tested the system for its accuracy and ability to serve customers. If we can – and it is not easy because it takes time – we need to find the advocate or catalyst in the company that will follow through and investigate. This is rarely someone on the front line. If they exist at all, they are higher up in an organization – a vice president or director or higher. You’ve made me realize I need to write another post about this and I’ll refer to your comments. Thanks again. mj

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