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The Web 2.0 Customer Service Race

What happens if you email some of the top web 2.0 web sites for customer service?

Who will answer first and who has the best support?

We emailed 10 different major internet websites with idiotic questions. This usually took the form of registering on the website, and then submitting a support request to ask how to register. (Yes, most of the time it was required you register before opening a ticket.) We didn’t cut anyone any slack; we threw low blows wherever we could. We even submitted questions to the wrong tech support groups wherever needed.

So, the results from WORST (longest response time) to BEST( shortest response time):

7. Facebook

Facebook comes in dead last with a response time of a whopping 1,406 minutes.

But we aren’t all complaints. Their response was far from the cookie-cutter responses customer support teams love to send out. The technician, who signs the name Lauren, spoke in clear English and was very helpful to point out that we already had a Facebook account. Thanks, Lauren.


6. CafePress

If you needed help in ordering a shirt or two, CafePress may lag just a little more than your liking. We got a response in 651 minutes (although like Facebook, it was a genuine response).


5. Amazon.com

Amazon came in at 457 minutes, as we got a response from Deepanchakaravarthy C. (Yes that is an actual name.) Although we did get a relevant response, it was a little too cookie-cutter for our liking. It was indeed helpful, however. It seemed more like a copy and paste job than the previously reviewed companies, but perhaps that is the price you pay for fast support.


4. ITunes

iTunes came in at a respectable 162 minutes. They had a very helpful response, gave a few links, and even emailed us back a day later to ensure that we solved our problem. As far as quality assurance goes, iTunes has this down well. Although, this shouldn’t be surprising; we had to search their website long and hard to find any contact information.


3. Ebay

Perhaps one of the most helpful emails we received was from eBay. And, most likely, we weren’t the only ones who asked how to register since we got the full textbook-quality tutorial on how to do so. We really couldn’t go wrong with Reggie K.’s instructions — our thanks goes out to him. What’s more impressive is that the response time came in at 118 minutes. Not bad at all.


2. vBulletin


VBulletin has some of the fastest response times on the internet. Just take a look at their homepage if you ever want proof. They even broadcast their average response time for all to see. We were impressed to see a human-made response in 16 minutes flat. And the best part is that this is usually considered a long wait on vBulletin’s terms. If you ever need to run a forum and want good support, look no further.


And the winner is ….

1. myspace

Say it isn’t so! How could one of the largest social communities on the website (which, consequently, is hated by many) have the fastest response time? We pondered this too. But coming in at 6 long minutes, we got a legit response. It seemed like a copy and paste job, but it was relevant nonetheless. This may be a fluke, perhaps, but there is no doubting the results.

Wait! Where are the other Three???

Although we would love to wait a few weeks and let you know where they stand, the remaining three web entities have yet to email us back. A full 10 days later, and we haven’t heard a single thing. So who’s part of the club? The answer may surprise you.

Yahoo, Google, and 37 Signals Tie for Worst

Life isn’t easy being a global super giant. (We’re looking at you, Google.) And we can let it slide that you can’t answer every question that passes by you within 10 days. And while we’re being generous, we’ll let Yahoo! slide as well.

But, 37signals? Yes, they are indeed a large and extensive company, but 10 days warrants an answer.

In the end, it all comes down to how bad you want support. If you’re itching for a response, you’ll generally get a quicker one by phone than by email.

And if you ever want to shoot the breeze with Google, Yahoo, or 37signals over email, prepare to do most of the talking.



[tags] web 2.0 customer service [/tags]

One Comment

  1. Nick C Says:

    Just caught this article, very interesting! Re 37signals I have had the opposite experience including very fast responses from the man himself Jason F. But i may have just been lucky...

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