Every day when she sat down in her chair and put on her head set she knew that she was going to get several of “those” calls. You see, her employer had a number of policies that were not all that customer-centric.
This company sold its products to resellers that were mostly small businesses. While they accepted credit cards from the small businesses for purchases, this large, prominent company did not accept the credit card favored by most small businesses. This, despite the fact that its direct competitors did accept the favored card.
This was just the start of the reasons for “those” calls. These small businesses typically placed many orders per week. So what did this large company do? The company charged these small business owners’ credit card each time they ordered. This, despite the fact that its direct competitors charged these small businesses only once per month for their multiple orders.
While these small business owners account for their business on a month by month basis, credit card statements typically don’t start from the first and run through the end of the month – they might run from the 12th through the 11th.
Ongoing irate customer calls
As a result, Brenda frequently got “those” calls. Customers irate that her company didn’t take the credit card they preferred to use. Customers irate that their other card was charged each time there was an order. Customers irate that it was so hard to reconcile their credit card statement with their monthly accounting. Customers irate that they couldn’t pay their account with their credit card over the phone. Brenda and her colleagues have to absorb this negativity daily as part of their job.
Rule: Don’t make it hard for customers to pay your organization.
Brenda and all of the customer service reps had been taking “those” calls for years by the time I was brought in. Yet executives of this market leader had no idea this was going on.
Imagine working for a company that talks a lot about doing right by customers and employees but isn’t even aware of a major problem with one of its policies and how that policy negatively impacts both customers and employees.
The disconnect between senior executives and the lives of their front line employees has been highlighted in a television show, Undercover Boss. In each episode a chief executive goes undercover as a new hire in a front line position with his or her company. The epiphanies are numerous as these executives actually get to live under the policies and systems of their organization. They not only get to see and feel the negative impact on employees of many of their policies and systems, but also the negative impact on their customers and their business.
While I work hard to improve the lives of customers, I take my greatest satisfaction in improving the professional lives of people like Brenda. It is gratifying when I know that when she sits down in her chair every day she no longer has to fret about receiving “those” calls.
Executives – what decisions have you made that force your front-line employees to bear the brunt of restrictive policies and systems and irate customers? Do you even know?
Secret: Want to know where your organization has opportunities to improve customer experiences? Sit with your employees who field customer complaints every day.
Remember, to your customers, you are your touchpoints.
This post an excerpt from my book, TOUCHPOiNT POWER! Get & Keep More Customers, Touchpoint by Touchpoint (William Henry Publishing, 2013). Now available! For information and to order, visit TouchpointPower.com or view the TOUCHPOiNT POWER! listing on Amazon.
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