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A software bug and a customer-focused solution

Last week we discovered and corrected some calculation errors in our software that resulted in us over-billing a handful of customers an average of 50¢. This isn’t a post about the details of that error, but rather how we handled this from a customer service standpoint.

We’ve all been on the receiving end of a billing mistake before. Some companies have addressed these kinds of mistakes in a fashion that we’ve become accustomed to:

  • A credited line item on an invoice,
  • a broadcast email alert to the affected customer base,
  • or even a ‘wait for the customer to call and then tell them’ approach.

We felt the right thing to do was to pick up the phone and call each customer affected BEFORE they noticed the problem, explain what happened, tell them how and when we’ll fix the error and that we’re sorry this happened in the first place.

How did it go?

The customer response from our phone calls was pretty incredible. Time and again, each conversation turned into a wonderful conversation with our customers. They were “surprised and delighted” that we took the time to call them and apologize.

Although this specific response may not scale in the same way when we reach thousands of customers, what we learned is that regardless of the method, as long as we work to foster a culture that focuses on the customer regardless of circumstance, we’ll be equipped to respond in a ‘surprising and delightful’ way regardless of the situation.

When I’m asked how Ting is different, this is one of the stories I’ll share. Yes, it does feel a bit odd ‘tooting our own horn’ after recovering from a mistake we created, but I think it serves as a real-world example about who we are and our approach to dealing with our mistakes.

10 Days of Premium Apps – $0.10 Android Apps

Celebrating its 10 billionth download, Google is offering 10 premium apps per day for 10 days for, you guessed it, $0.10 each.

We’ll keep a running list of the apps on offer in this 10 Days of Premium Apps promotion.

Grab these apps from the Android Market.

Final day- December 15, 2011

  • Camera ZOOM FX
  • Shine Runner
  • TileStorm HD
  • Star Chart
  • Talking Ben the Dog
  • Apparatus
  • Color & Draw for kids phone
  • Hyper Jump
  • Sentinel 3: Homeworld
  • Majesty: Fantasy Kingdom Sim
  • Puffle Launch
  • Heavy Gunner 3D

Day Nine- December 14, 2011

  • Tank Riders
  • SwiftKey X Keyboard
  • Sleepy Jack
  • ezPDF Reader
  • Guns’n’Glory
  • Icebreaker Hockey
  • Collapse!
  • Zenonia
  • Toddler Tapping Zoo
  • Deer Hunger 3D
  • MX Moto

Day Eight- December 13, 2011

  • Flight Track
  • Instant Heart Rate PRO
  • HD Widgets
  • Train Conductor 2
  • Where’s My Water
  • SlideIT Keyboard
  • Shazam Encore
  • All By Myself – Little Critter
  • Christmas HD
  • Sketchbook Mobile
  • Flick Golf!

Day Seven- December 12, 2011

  • Doodle Jump
  • Sound Hound 8
  • Blow Up
  • Flick Soccer
  • Block Breaker 3
  • Super KO Boxing 2
  • Roll in the Hole
  • When I Get Bigger
  • Flight Control
  • Block Breaker 3 Unlimited HD

Day Six- December 11, 2011

  • Backbreaker Football
  • Raging Thunder
  • Backstab HD
  • Captain America
  • Jenga
  • Sim City Deluxe
  • Endomondo
  • NFL 3D Live Wallpaper
  • Great Little War Game
  • Just Me and My Mom

Day Five- December 10, 2011

  • Pano
  • Apparatus
  • SlideIT Keyboard
  • The Sims 3
  • Age of Zombies
  • Kids Connect the Dots
  • Drop7
  • Season Zen HD
  • Snowfall Live Wallpaper
  • Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD

Day Four- December 9, 2011

  • Spirit HD
  • Shazam Encore
  • Sentinel 3: Homeworld
  • Farm Frenzy
  • Toddler Spanish
  • Need for Speed Shift
  • Jelly Defence
  • Game Dev Story
  • Baseball Superstars 2011
  • My Beach HD

Day Three- December 8, 2011:

  • Tetris
  • Blue Skies Donation Wallpaper
  • Homerun Battle 3D
  • Reckless Getaway
  • Talking Tom Cat 2
  • Kids Learn to Read (Preschool)
  • ADWLauncher EX
  • Space Physics
  • Toki Tori
  • Can Knockdown

Day Two- December 7, 2011:

  • Fruit Ninja
  • BB – Bedtime Stories
  • AirSync by doubleTwist
  • Flick Golf!
  • Star Chart
  • Reckless Racing
  • Christmas HD
  • NFL Rivals
  • Beautiful Widgets
  • Read It Later Pro

Day One – December 6, 2011:

  • Paper Camera
  • Sound Hound
  • Asphalt 6
  • Minecraft
  • SwiftKey
  • SketchBook Mobile
  • Fieldrunners HD
  • Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro
  • Great Little War Game
  • Color and Draw for Kids

Ting 1.04

The following changes to went live Tuesday November 22nd, 2011:

  • The entire site is now secure (i.e. https), not just transactional pages.
  • Changes to the Plans Page including moving video to a lightbox.
  • Now using embedded YouTube for all videos.
  • Improved sorting of data when viewing Details of Data Usage.
  • Improved Device Selection Dropdown on Your Account Page.
  • Improved page load times.

Ting 1.031

The following changes to went live Tuesday November 22nd, 2011:

  • We no longer ask for SSN or Business Tax ID during device purchase or activation.
  • We no longer ask if the device is for business or personal use. We made Business Name an optional field.
  • All information for moving a number to Ting (porting) is asked for on one page
  • Other minor fixes to number porting process
  • Minor design improvements to Savings and Usage Calculators

Ting 1.03

The following changes to went live Thursday November 17th, 2011:

  • Devices are now sorted correctly on the Devices Page
  • Added ability to navigate back and forth between Device Pages
  • Changed device purchase process with better warnings about low/no coverage zones
  • Shipping Address now allows for optional Business Name information
  • Made option to transfer a number from another provider during activation easier to find
  • Your Account now shows devices awaiting Activation
  • Activating a device from Your Account now auto-fills ESN/MEID
  • Device being activated shown on Activation Confirmation page
  • Improved accuracy of data usage reporting (was tracked accurately but not always displayed accurately)
  • SSN is now partially obscured on confirmation page
  • New 404 “Page Not Found” Page
  • New “System Error” message (hopefully you’ll never see it!)
  • Billing Details now have a printer-friendly style
  • Fixed Billing Details for first bill if all 0 Plans selected
  • Corrected error in reporting sending international text messages
  • Improved page load times
  • Many minor visual, wording and and bug fixes

Ting 1.02

The following changes to went live Thursday November 3rd, 2011:

  • Made SSN optional in device purchase process
  • Fixed “where to find my ESN” link
  • Enhancements and bug fixes to Saving and Usage Calculators
  • Changed the way we check data for coverage when ordering devices
  • Changed log-out to 30 hours
  • Made Shipping Address editable by Ting Team
  • Made Billing Phone Number visible to Ting Team
  • Changed purchase order prefix from TINGTEST to TING
  • Made “Page Not Found” messages consistent throughout site
  • Increased redundancy of several back-end systems
  • Made “dots” on home page message carousel clickable
  • Data usage is not being calculated correctly
  • Business ID and SSN fields now accept dashes as part of input
  • Changed incorrect Optimus S image
  • Changes to Device Order process to make it more tolerant of different address types and service quality levels.
  • Added missing images to “Using Android” posts.
  • Fixed issue with some AMEX numbers not being accepted.
  • General code clean-up & refactoring
  • General bug fixes
  • General clean-up of minor visual design inconsistencies