This weekend I had a problem with my alarm system at home. My alarm had gone off (false alarm), but for some reason it wasn’t releasing the phone line back to the phone. This meant that when I picked up the home phone I got that “there’s a phone off the hook” repeating tone.

I didn’t realize this was the problem until about 1:30am Sunday morning. So I called ADT (alarm company) to see if they could help. I wasn’t expecting a great experience after midnight, but a great experience is exactly what I got.

I called their 800 number, pressed one key, and got a human. She was very well informed and genuinely friendly. This wasn’t an outsourced-to-another-contintent-and-follow-the-script experience. Even though it was a confusing and rare problem, she understood what I was explaining and began looking for a solution.

She wasn’t sure exactly how to fix the problem since my alarm system has a hardwired phone cable (an important detail for this problem, but not worth explaining here), but she politely put me on hold and asked her supervisor. 30 seconds later she had the answer.

It’s subtle, but I think this makes for a better experience than transferring me to someone else who may be able to answer my question. When you’re transferred you feel like you have to start over. Whatever rapport you’ve built up with the first person is missing with the new person. Background information may have to be repeated. Stories may have to be told again. Transfers are frustrating.

Anyway, in order to fix the issue I had to trip the alarm. She stayed with me on the phone while I went through the process and talked me through exactly what to do and when to do it. It really felt like I was talking to a friend. The tone was casual, helpful, and friendly the whole way through. I never felt rushed or stupid or inferior. Everything was handled perfectly.

My experience with late-night call centers or customer service calls has almost always been sub-par. The quality seems to suffer in off hours. But this interaction with ADT was fantastic. It was a great experience and it reminded me of the other great experiences I’ve had with ADT. The salesperson was great and the installer was great too. One experience tends to reinforce other experiences.

The whole experience made me happy to be an ADT customer. It’s been a while since a customer service call reminded me that I was a happy customer. And that reminds me just how important it is to provide great customer service.