My business partner & I recently met up with a friend we’d not seen in a few months. As we were catching up, we were telling him about the new management consulting business we’ve started centred around our expertise in delivering customer growth. Clearly, the customer experience has to be at the centre of the company growth strategy or you may as well pack up and go home, right? So, after congratulating us, he proceeded to tell us of his most recent encounter with a major mobile phone provider. He launches into this woeful tale about trying to renegotiate his mobile contract whilst trying to save some money in the process. By the way, he’s been with this particular provider for 15 years! After much going round and round with a sales advisor who dangles the latest (and expensive) handset as part of the contract renewal, he agrees to a new term, with new pricing and eagerly awaits the arrival of the latest gadgetry handset. “Great!”, he says to himself…”I’ve got a deal! Woo hoo!”
Well, a few days later, a parcel arrives containing the latest & greatest me-phone handset….except…”hey!…where’s the charger and, what? no earbuds?” At first, our friend thought, “Well, I’ve got dozens of those lying about, no big deal.” Except, the penny drops and he realises with this newest model of me-phone, the charger & leads are completely different! He gets on the phone to the sales advisor to let him know what has happened and to ask for the missing charger & earbuds. The agent comes clean and admits that although the phone is the latest & greatest model, it is a returned handset and that particular phone’s charger and earbuds (obviously) didn’t get returned. Needless to say, our friend wasn’t too happy about this development. The sales agent wasn’t doing anything to help sort out the issue, nor was he willing to offer any concession or change to the newly-renewed contract. Exasperated, our friend asked to cancel the contract and arrange return of the phone. He was quickly put through to “The Retentions Team”. A very polite and well-informed advisor listened to his story, and with a few quick keyboard taps, was able to source a completely NEW handset, complete with both new (unused) earbuds and charger! The Retentions Wizard was even able to give our friend a month subscription free of charge for his inconvenience!
So, why did this happen and why didn’t the sales advisor have the skills and empowerment to do the right thing in the first instance? Why didn’t the customer who’d been with this provider for 15 years (wow!) feel valued and appreciated? Today, more than ever before, people are voting with their feet. It is simple to switch and move to another product or service provider when the experience isn’t top-notch.
It seems the more sensible approach would be to keep customers so satisfied they tell others how well they were treated when doing business with you. Shifting what you deliver into that area of excellence by delivering higher than expected levels of service to each and every customer – every single time. THAT should be how the Customer Experience in EVERY business should work.
Each and every employee dedicated to customer satisfaction; providing immediate response; taking ownership and going above & beyond to deliver consistently on-time…delivering what you promise before AND after the sale. That extraordinary service rewards you with repeat business whilst a poor experience will drive your customers straight to the competition!
The evidence in delivering less than a brilliant experience for your customers and prospects is reflected in the Ombudsman Service Report and cited in our 20 February 2017 blog post. And it HAS to be the call to action for our business leadership and customer experience experts to drive the much-needed change into our collective business cultures.