Wednesday, 22 February 2012

It's agony buying from you!

Following a recent atrocious experience I appeal to all customer driven organisations to improve their operations.

As a devoted Essendon Football Club member, the new AFL TV rights deal means we must have FOXTEL to view all games live. So begins the installation agony...

Over two months we have, at last count, spoken to 16 people, had four separate visits from tradespeople who were unable to proceed without further authorization and spent collectively over three hours talking to automated voice machines and call centre staff. 

Last night, at the end of our tether, I spent 67 minutes on the phone trying to find someone in FOXTEL to care about and consider the challenges we were having with a sympathetic ear. 

Over an hour later one person finally said sorry. He worked through my concerns and then, wait for it, he asked me to ring back again in the morning because everyone in the orders department had gone home! I said "If I have to ring back in the morning it will be to cancel the order!" He agreed to try and get a message to them (maybe tie it to a stone and throw it). 

Clearly, their business has become so bureaucratic and process driven they have lost focus on the kind of business they are in, the customer business.

This got me thinking. What if they tried buying from themselves? How do you keep the human element to sales and service in this cost down economy?

What was sadly lacking here was:
  • Someone to truely listen
  • Someone with an intent to solve and help make customer satisfied
  • A process that allows common sense and doing the right thing as a norm
  • The ability of a manager to take control and change the outcome to a happy one.

Proctor and Gamble have just spent millions getting the full story about their customers on a number of products with stunning sales results. Once they let customers drive the innovation and sales model they could deliver a product and service that matches.

Here is a test for today. Go undercover for a day, try and buy from your own organisation and see how it goes? Document the experience and process map it. Then feed it back to all in your business so you get better. 

Secondly, look at how you can ‘humanise’ your business again. In this new world of economic uncertainty and volatility an understanding, active listening and commonsense approach to serving your customer could just become a modern day competitive advantage.


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