According to Wikipedia, the definition of Customer Service is “the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.”[i] With this in mind, if I am working with clients, I need to focus on interfacing with the customer, identifying their needs and satisfying their needs. And as you will see in my post below, I also need to look at WHO my customers are. What do they have access to? Do they have a computer at home with internet access? Do they know how to use a computer? Or do they prefer to “touch” and “feel” what they are looking at?
When I agreed to help Keith with his autosomal DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA, I thought everything would be easy. He would take the test, find some matches, meet new cousins, fill in the gaps in his family tree and go on about his merry way!
But when that final email came that said his results had been posted, Keith was ready to go! He wanted to know what to do next and he was just busting with questions! He wanted to know who all his matches were. Who they were related to. How they were related to him. How he could contact them. Would they give him information about his mother’s side of the family. Which side of the family were they from. The questions just kept coming and I was excited for him!
I was totally prepared.
I had the email all written out about how to log into the site with his user name and password. How to view his matches. How to view the pedigrees of his matches.
Except there was one tiny problem.
Keith had dial-up internet.
After a few phone calls, we determined that the 23 pages of Keith’s matches could not be displayed with his dial up internet service. Well Keith being the inquisitive one that he is, asked a simple question:
“Can I download my match data?” - Why of course you can! And I can take care of that for you.
I can download his matches from the Family Finder section of his homepage into a csv file which is just an unformatted format of an Excel file. There are a few limitations with this though: First, his list of matches will need to be redownloaded each time matches are added, which could be daily or weekly. Or I could filter his list of matches by date and then download the new ones and add them to the already downloaded list.
Second, one of the things that is lost when the list of matches is downloaded from the website to the csv file is the highlighting of the common surnames and their variations. The website automatically bolds the surnames that are in common between you and your matches’ list of names and includes surname variations. This is lost when the match data is downloaded. You can still do a search within the csv file, but it will not pick up name variations like the website does.
I saved the csv as an excel file and emailed a copy of it to Keith. He received it ok, but when he went to print it, it was at least 40 pages long. Another thing to consider is what if your client doesn’t have the Excel program on their computer? It can be converted to a PDF file which is easily read by a free PDF reader program.
So far, working with Keith has been a great learning experience. I didn’t realize how little customer interaction experience I actually had. I also hadn’t thought about all the little things that could go wrong! I am definitely on my way to becoming a better professional.
Have you ever hit any unexpected roadblocks while working with a client? If so, please share your experience in the comments below or email me at ginger.reney (at) gmail.com (replace “at” with the @ symbol).