Topic of Conversation: Have you ever called your own helpdesk?


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I wanted to post a topic of conversation for the CustomerThink community. Have you ever contacted your customer support team the same way your customers would?

What was your experience? What did you learn from it?

I’ve had a number of companies recently reach out to us after doing just that. They identified gaps in process, training and perspective that lead them to identify breakdowns in the customer experience. In a customer-centric world, these breakdowns can be tremendously detrimental to your brand.

We wrote a brief blog about the process and I would love to hear your experiences, takeaways and “ah-ha’s” from your interaction with your company.

Tripp Kerr
Tripp Kerr is Chief Operating Officer of a world class, full-service technical support organization. Having spent over 20 years designing, building and deploying customer support organizations for some of the world's largest companies, Tripp is passionate about the role of support in building company and brand value.


  1. This is a form of ‘mirroring’, almost like employees serving as mystery shoppers; and it has been effectively used in various b2b and b2c industries for years.

    Here’s an example, not too far a departure from contacting a help desk or customer service department. Newly hired physicians, about to join the medical staff at a hospital, check in to that hospital as a patient (with a phony ailment). This enables them to observe, in the guise of a patient, how the hospital functions, particularly how they are treated. At the end of a few days, they prepare and submit a report on what they have experienced. This perspective helps them as incoming professional employees, and it helps the hospital gain a different view, beyond patient satisfaction surveys, of what they can do to enhance processes and performance.

  2. Calling your own help desk is a great start but being on the phone when a customer calls is even better. As the “owner” of the help desk, we know too much so we are blind to the subtle cues the customer picks up. We can explain away hiccups since we often know why they exist. We give our hard working operators the benefit of the doubt which the customer often does not! Calling your help desk and disguising who you are is a valuable, intelligence gathering first step!

  3. Just recalled another example. Before being purchased by Bank of America, MBNA was the #2 issuer of credit cards in the U.S. and one of the most customer-centric cultures I’d ever encountered. Their mantra for employees, emblazoned virtually everywhere in their buildings, was “Think Of Yourself As The Customer”. As part of living their customer-focused commitment, all employees of VP rank or higher were required to take service or complaint calls from customers for at least five hours per month. This assured that they could never lose touch with the customer and his/her issues.

  4. In my experience, it is remarkable just how many employees (especially senior leaders) have NEVER experienced their own customer journey. It is IMPOSSIBLE to either empathise with customers, or make customer centric decisions unless people within your organisation are able to understand how it FEELS to be a customer at all stages of the journey.

    However, despite this, I would never encourage MANDATING the experiencing of journeys – this leads to some feeling negatively towards the introduction of another ‘task’. What I would encourage is for those who do take the opportunity to experience things in the customer journey, to tell as many stories about their experience as possible.


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