It seems that the fourth time is the charm. Or so we hope.
My husband's windshield cracked. They came to replace it. Then they came back to fix the rearview mirror. Then they came back to replace the windshield again. They have now ordered a third windshield from the car manufacturer and we are hoping that the fourth time they come, he will have a windshield and a mirror. Four times. Not counting phone calls. Good thing my husband works from home.
We also had a problem with our cable TV tiling. While we were having the issue resolved, we thought we would upgrade the cable access for two other units. Not counting "no shows," not considering showing up late for two-hour windows, and not counting the repeated phone calls to the "help" line, we have had four visits from technicians. We now think we have three correctly operating televisions now, but only time will tell. (And the last technician left a mess in the wiring closet -- just saying.)
I wish these stories were the exception rather than the norm, but sadly, they are typical customer "service" experiences. And this issue is not limited to consumers, but also applies to businesses. Gallup reported a recent study of business-to-business (B2B) companies, 20% of the customers reported having a service -- and only 40% of them felt that their problems were solved satisfactorily.
In an earlier post, I introduced the concept of lean consumption, the idea of eliminating waste from customer interactions. My belief is that companies spend a lot of effort reducing waste in their internal processes in an effort to become lean -- but that they end up transferring some of that waste to the customer (e.g., creating rework, causing delays, and shifting ownership of the problem or experience to the customer).
In my most recent post, I stressed the importance of innovation -- which goes far beyond the idea of invention or new product creation. For example, you can create innovation in your customers' experience. What if your customers could track -- and even update -- the status of a request or a problem as easily as a that of a package with UPS? What if your service technicians were better trained in change management, so they could determine that making a change in one part of a system caused problems in other areas? What if your representatives could communicate in terms of benefits rather than features?
Have you walked through your business operations with the perspective of a customer? I'm not suggesting you become an Undercover Boss or a secret shopper, but that you step back and think about what your customers experience. Call your company with a problem. Reach out to past customers that have not done business with you for a while. Listen to new customers.
It is much less expensive to retain a customer than attract a new one. Make it easy for your customers to do business with you.
Click to set custom HTML