Archives for November 2011

We Have Received Your Customer Service Question

…But we’re not going to answer it. 

Actually, I’m pretty sure they didn’t even read it.

Via a website form, I sent the following email to my local company that supports those auto toll tags:

“I have misplaced my tag so I don’t have the tag number or account number.  I need to cancel this account and create a new one”

In reply, I got back:

“To help access your account, please check your EZ-Pass device for the issuing agency’s name and telephone number.  Please resubmit your request to that agency via website or telephone.  BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR DEVICE NUMBER OR AN ACCOUNT NUMBER”

…thud (my head hitting the desk) 

Don’t Trick Your Customers With Self Service

I’m a huge fan of self service.  Like I haven’t said that a thousand times.  But, it’s worth repeating.  Give me the power.  Give me control.  And, then get out of my way.  Sure, I might call you on occasion.  But don’t make me call you because your self service stinks.  And in some cases, I actually prefer the human touch.  The point is that I want to decide.  I want the choice.   

That being said.  I am not John Q. Public (thank God for the public at large).  I am unique.  I’m an individual.  So, when you’re creating your customer engagement and channel strategy, make decisions for the right reasons, not because its easier or cheaper for you to stand up an IVR.  Do it because some segment of your customers want it.  And, certainly don’t take a page from banks who forced customers to use ATMs in the early days – a channel that was far inferior to the branch teller back then. 

When I was trick or treating with my kids on Halloween, it hit me that many of my neighbors have in fact followed down that misguided path. 

The richness of trick or treating extends beyond just collecting candy.  If that was the extent of it, I could go to Target on November 1st and get my kids all the candy they could stomach, and then some.  No, the experience is made whole by going door to door, ringing the bell, seeing the door open and yelling proudly “Trick or Treat!”

As the deliverer of the candy, there is joy in that experience as well.  Seeing what creative ghouls and gobblins, princesses and pirates show up on the door step.  That’s trick or treating.  The value of that experience seems to be lost on a growing population. 

More and more of my neighbors are deciding to either not be home or to not answer their door; replacing that with the self service bowl of candy on the front door step.  The whole point of the night seems to be lost on these folks.  Its not just about the candy.  Its about the mutual experience.  Forcing the kids to self serve robs them of the experience that makes the night so much fun.

Call it what you want.  Customer intimacy, customer relationship management, customer centricity.  Whatever.  Just do us all a favor.  Spend the time upfront understanding your customers.   Thoroughly understand the impact your channel mix has on your customers’ experience.  And treat them to the experience they desire, via the channels they prefer.  No tricks.