Providing experiences that WOW is not that difficult. It does, however, require keeping the desire to be amazing in every interaction with a prospect or customer top of mind.
Yes, because the sales message sucks. Just like the one you sent to me.
If I am tired of this kind of cheese, you know that other busy Sales Executives and Business Owners are too. You would welcome the opportunity to learn more about my sales process?
First, I’m not Christopher and Christopher has never worked here.
Second, I’m not available to waste my time educating you about my business.
Third, you assume that the people you are emailing struggle to find prospects.
Four, if you really “care” – take time to do your homework and tailor your message.
Five, the email is a pitch, and I don’t care that you are “excited” to share how you help others.
To all sellers, sales leaders and marketers…
Differentiation from the competition is a common sales goal, and it isn’t that hard to do. Guess what…don’t send messages like this one. Guaranteed, you will stand out! Why? Because it is RARE to receive a cold email that adds value or is compelling enough for buyers to want to know more.
PLEASE don’t send emails like this one.
Most business owners and sales people struggle to find prospects. Telemarketing and fancy email marketing campaigns yield disappointing results. I’m excited to share how I’m helping others have a constant stream of prospects with XYZ’s automated prospecting technology; the return on investment is typically less than 3 months. I provide sales expertise and can help in other areas too.
• 30%+ Response rates (personal & relevant content with multiple touches, totally automated & managed)
• Steady Stream of prospects=$ MORE SALES$
• Fewer missed opportunities: our clients are at the “Top of their prospects minds”
•Personal and professional attention from a sales professional with over 20 years of B2B sales success, I care.
I would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your sales process and share with how I can help add drive more revenue.. Do you have any availability for a brief call in the next few weeks?
In my last post, I said that I planned to share some recent examples of the less than WOW experiences I’ve had as buyer of business products. I wish I could say this post would be the only one, but I have many more to showcase going forward.
All I wanted to do was cancel my account…it should have been easy.
At the end of 2012, I transitioned my email marketing to Infusionsoft. I’d been a long time Constant Contact user, but now I needed a more robust system that supported more sophisticated marketing campaigns and was integrated with an online shopping cart. I’d heard a lot about Infusionsoft from a variety of sources – all of it positive. After doing more research myself, I decided to make the move. Over $6,000 dollars later with nothing much to show for it, in January I decided to cancel my account.
The promise is that the system is easy to use. That wasn’t my experience. Even creating basic newsletters burned too much time. Two assistants never could figure it out and were constantly flustered. Without having the support I needed to manage the system – unless I wanted to spend thousands per month for a “certified” consultant – I let the account languish while I explored other options.
Experience matters. Every interaction counts. The system didn’t work for me, and that’s OK. I was fine to cancel my account and move on. Instead, I’m calling out Infusionsoft as one example of a company whose processes/policies make life difficult for their customers.
Here’s my story…
1. I wanted to cancel my account but Infusionsoft doesn’t make it easy for you. I should have been able to cancel online or with a quick email to the service department. Nope. Infusionsoft insists that you call them. Right away I knew why that was their policy. They wanted an opportunity to “sell me” on remaining a customer.
2. Grudgingly, I make the call. The gal who answers the phone notes my request and tells me that someone will be calling me back “to verify” that I want to cancel. WTF? I’m thinking, why am I talking to you then? I’ve already burned up time making this call to handle something that shouldn’t be a hassle for me. I gave you my name and account number but someone else has to call me to verify that I do want to cancel? Argh…
3. Later in the day, I receive a call from a representative who is a “loyalty guy”. I understand you want to cancel, he says. Yes, I do. The system isn’t working for me, I tell him. He says, tell me what the problem is…maybe I can help. I basically lay out the story for the 2nd time (I’d already told the gal that I talked to) and tell him that I am firm on canceling. OK, I see you’ve made up your mind, he says. Well, yeah dude. That’s why I’m canceling; otherwise, I would have called tech support for help. Stop wasting my time.
4. Loyalty guy confirms that my account will be canceled immediately. Imagine my surprise when 3 days later, I’m billed for another month of service. Then I notice that my account is still active.
5. Phone call number three and this one to the accounting department. Naturally, I had to leave a message. I explain the situation and ask for my money to be refunded.
6. Later that day, I receive a phone message from accounting gal saying that – yes, she confirmed my request to cancel but that my billing cycle was in progress when I called them. According to their billing policy, Infusionsoft doesn’t issue refunds, so my account remains active until the end of the billing cycle. Of course, you won’t be billed again, she says. Isn’t that nice. Another $259 wasted for software that I’m not using.
What really ticks me off here is the time I had to waste going through their silly gymnastics to cancel my account. Then I’m billed for another month of service to boot. We are talking 3-days into the new cycle but Infusionsoft doesn’t prorate or return your money if your cancellation timing happens to be off. On top of that, loyalty guy never confirmed that I understood their billing policy or told me that I was already into a new cycle. Yes, I realize that I agreed to the written terms at some point. Still, the right thing to do was to tell me to be sure I understood what would happen. It would have saved me another phone call!
This is not service excellence. It is a classic example of how companies like Infusionsoft are blowing it. Even if a customer decides to cancel your service, the last thing you should want to do is piss them off! I was already annoyed at the wasted money and time that had been spent trying to get the system to work for my business. Infusionsoft’s process only made it worse.
The final point I want to make is this…
Had it been easy for me to cancel my account, I would have gone on my merry way. If someone asked me what I thought of the Infusionsoft system, I would have told them it didn’t work for me, but that I knew plenty of people using it successfully. Now I’m telling everyone I know to steer clear.
P.S. To the Infusionsoft consultants who want to come at me and tell me how easy the platform is to use…please, save your breath. I’m very accomplished with technology. You think it’s easy because A) you are drinking the Kool-Aid and B) you’ve invested hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to become certified. Contrary to the Infusionsoft marketing hype – without extensive training, it is not that easy to use. I don’t have that kind of time to waste, and if I can’t pay someone a reasonable fee to do the administration for me it isn’t worth it.
Though I maintain my steadfast passion for igniting sales transformation, I do not believe that placing emphasis on improving just one silo of the business makes sense if anything is expected to change. The conversation should no longer focus on social selling or social media marketing, as if each is operating in a vacuum. Organizations need to become much more focused on becoming a “social business”.
Engaging consultants or trainers to help improve Sales, Marketing or Service capabilities – in silos – won’t net much more than marginal improvement. With departments myopically focused on their own improvement, not surprisingly, you rarely see the large scale, institutional change needed when the market evolves to a point where it is clear that business practices must change.
Social media did that…it disrupted business completely. Most companies were not – are not – getting a real handle on what that means for the future of their business. And I haven’t even started talking about the impact of multiple generations on a social business strategy.
As social, mobile, cloud and digital technologies are going to force business leaders to rethink everything they thought they knew about how buyers choose to purchase something, it isn’t only Marketing or PR that has to change things, but Sales, Service and every other department too. The connected buyer communicates through any number of modalities…text, phone, email, mobile, social networks – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, blogging – and cloud computing services like Evernote or Dropbox. Not everyone with dollars to spend will want to interact with your company in the same way. If you keep trying to force them to do that, you’ll lose.
After eight years, I thought companies would be seeing greater success and be a little farther along in their strategic use of social media to support business objectives in Marketing, Sales and Service. One reason it isn’t happening is because social strategies ARE NOT LINKED to the performance of business goals. According to Brian Solis and Charlene Li in their white paper, The Evolution of Social Business, they suggest that business use of social media is often guided by a peer or competitive-driven “social for social’s sake” philosophy. Unfortunately, there is a ton of truth in their observation.
It is rare to find the company that doesn’t relegate the social strategy to the Marketing department even though social now impacts the entire enterprise (inside and out), but certainly Sales and Service in big ways. Even if companies establish measurable outcomes to track, and it’s a big IF, social initiatives fizzle and die due to a lack of strategic vision, funding and oversight that is guided by top down vision from the C-Suite. This has to change.
Buyers have choices…lots of them. You are kidding yourself if you think otherwise. Do you know what happens from that very first interaction with a prospective customer? Do you know what they are thinking? Do you know how you stack up in their minds?
What about your customers? Are they sticking with you? Are they happy? Are you sure? What happens if something goes wrong? What’s the service and support experience like? You may think you know the answers to these questions, but my bet is that your company is not doing as well as you think.
If you expect to have a future in business, your business has to change. Stay tuned for my next several posts, because I will be sharing my own personal experiences as a business buyer. Hopefully, as a business leader, it will give you a bit more to think about.
In 2005, I wrote an article outdated customer service. It is now 2013, and I’m still asking the same questions about service and customer experience as I did back then.
At the time that I wrote my article, I quoted Tom Peters from his book The Pursuit of Wow in which he said, “70% of customers hit the road not because of price or product quality issues, but because they did not like the human side of doing business with the provider of the product or service.”
It doesn’t feel like much has changed. Yes, companies like Zappos and Amazon WOW. But what about all the thousands of other brands out there?
I recently read a blog post penned by Frank Eliason, Director of Global Social Media at Citi. In his post, he says that “One of the reasons the Customer experience is broken at many companies is we have tried to force the Customer into our view instead of taking the Customer view.” Exactly. I couldn’t agree more. How often are companies insisting that their employees walk in the shoes of their customers? How often is the boss going “undercover” to really see what’s going on?
We’ve had rapid advancements in technology – digital, mobile, social networks – in the past 10 years. More people can be reached faster and in more unique ways, but what good does any of that do if you talk about service but never actually deliver. As buyers, have we become so accustomed to mediocre service or worse that we just tolerate it?
Customers want to work with those businesses who demonstrate a sincere desire to help them with anything they need, and they are willing to pay for it. Yes, they want products to work and services that meet their needs. More importantly though, they want people who care that what they sell does their business no harm.
Major departments inside organizations continue to work in silos. Pour a little social media into the mix and the problem is exacerbated. Proudly proclaiming to the world that you provide service and support via Twitter means nothing if you never respond to complaints shared on your page. It happens all the time.
I’m going to be talking a lot more about customer experience in the coming days and weeks. Businesses need to start realizing that there is no “linear” path that a prospect now takes on the way to becoming a customer. Marketing, sales and service folks all need to work together to define and deliver exceptional experience at every touch point in the prospect–to-customer life cycle. Beyond the feel good aspect of delivering WOW experiences, there is financial gain as well.
Is providing great a rich and robust customer experience really that difficult?
I’ll close with these words from IBM founder Thomas Watson who said, “If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work”.
Buyers are more sophisticated thanks to immediate access to information from anywhere and at any time. Various pundits in the selling industry want to argue that point. These are the sellers stuck in pre-Internet times when buyers relied solely on sales people for education. Shouting pitches at today’s buyer is wasted effort and is sure to ruin any opportunity to create a good first impression the second time around.
Today’s buyer demands relevance. They expect you to know something about their business and be able to challenge their thinking by providing fresh insights about industry or competitive trends. Using a decision maker’s time to ask outdated questions like, “What keeps you up at night?” is amateurish. The most effective sellers are the ones who prepare in advance and use valuable meeting time to validate and discuss information they’ve uncovered while doing their research.
In a recent meeting, a CEO of a financial services company shared an all too familiar story with me. He talked about the sales rep that scored a meeting with him, but blew the opportunity the moment he opened his mouth. This rep spent no time checking out the executive’s background. As a result, he takes it upon himself to “educate” this executive on current banking practices and regulations. The CEO told me it was insulting and made him quite angry. Within minutes, he cut the meeting short. Can you blame him?
Know Before You Go
The story I shared illustrates the importance of common sense and doing your homework. Shouldn’t it have been obvious that the CEO might know a little something about banking? Challenging with something cutting edge and new is one thing, but you don’t start the meeting without validating what you think your buyer does or does not know.
Most traditional selling models teach sales people to follow a scripted process, which are typically focused on features, benefits and some type of questioning technique designed to do a number of things:
- Create rapport and trust
- Learn about the buyers business
- Understand their challenges
- Uncover pain points
- Identify needs
In today’s selling environment, smart sales people gather answers to as many of these questions as they can before the meeting. Through common connections, press releases, blog posts, websites, earnings reports, executive interviews, social web conversations or social networking profiles, you can learn a lot about the people you will meet and their company. Then you use the meeting time to validate your thinking about what you learned. Not only will the sales conversation be more fruitful, you will quickly develop trust, demonstrate credibility and stand apart from your competitors.
In RAIN Group’s report, What Sales Winners Do Differently, 42 factors separated the winners from the distant second place finishers. Among the factors that buyers identified as being most important to them in making a buying decision are; educating with new ideas and perspectives, collaborated with me, listened to me, understood my needs and connected with me personally.
Sales people often complain that they “don’t have time” to do research. I see. You don’t have time to do the research but you have time to waste losing sales opportunities before they even get off the ground? I am not unsympathetic to the fact that many sales reps are told by their managers to stop wasting time online doing research. To them I also say…if you want your folks to get in front of deals and close them faster, let them do their homework!
My preferred research tool is InsideView. In addition to preparing for meetings, I can set trigger alerts based on terms that will indicate a potential opportunity to engage someone. I can also follow people and companies and receive a daily digest to keep me apprised of key information that I can leverage when working to secure a meeting.
These days, there is no excuse for walking into a meeting cold thinking that you can wing it. Without preparation, you have just prepared to lose.
What you really did is interrupt me. I don’t know who you are, but you think you are special enough that I’ll stop everything just to meet with you, talk to you or respond to you.
You don’t really care if the initiative that I am responsible for rolling out is a success. You certainly don’t care about what is at stake for me and my career if I fail. All you care about is getting your sale.
Even if I meet with you, you hear nothing that I say. Actually, I didn’t have much chance to say anything, because you can’t stop talking about how great you, your product and your company are.
You know absolutely nothing about my business. What’s worse, it is obvious you haven’t even bothered to try to find out what’s important to me. That’s insulting. There’s this thing called the Internet and social networks. You may have heard of them. Do you use them? Don’t think so. All you care about is getting your sale.
You think all you need to do to bond with me is to ask a few outdated questions like “what keeps you up at night”. If you really want to know what keeps me up at night, I’ll tell you. It’s you.
In your desperation to sell me something, you are not thinking about the bigger problems that I am facing. Revenue keeps declining, leads are drying up, my sales people don’t follow up on the leads that marketing gives them, or they waste time with people not qualified to buy from us. Senior management is on my back, and I may not have a job in 6-months if I don’t find a way to stop the bleeding. I know we need more than a quick fix but that’s what you are pedaling.
Even if your product or service fixes one part of the problem, how do you help me solve the rest of it? I know, I know. That’s not really your job is it? I think it should be.
You should care, but you don’t. You’ll protest, of course. You’ll say that you do care, but we both know that you just want the sale.
I know you complain about me. You whine to your buddies that I just don’t get it. You think it’s rude not to return your phone call or answer your email. You can’t fathom that the reason for my silence is that you’ve said nothing that tells me you are different. You are as bland, selfish, lazy and vanilla as every other sales person who approaches me. It soothes your ego to point the finger at me and proclaim it is my fault. You believe that if I just took the meeting, sat through your demo and listened to your company story, I’d understand.
The problem is that YOU don’t understand.
You refuse to listen to me. You can’t accept that everything you thought you knew is useless now. I want something more from you. You need to tell me something that I don’t already know; otherwise, what’s the point?
I don’t need sales people. I need trusted advisors. People that I can count on to tell me the truth, present fresh ideas, look at the problem holistically, work seamlessly with other providers and challenge me to think differently.
When the day comes that what keeps YOU UP AT NIGHT is that I might lose my job if what you sell me doesn’t work out, that’s when I will know it is time to welcome you with open arms.
My post about the Social Shake Up conference is getting a lot of play. That’s good. My goal was and is to shake up traditional thinking about what social media means to business. During the Day 2 kick-off session with Brian Solis, he said it best when he said…”You cannot slap something new onto what is comfortable.” In other words, you cannot do what you have always done – even if you use new tools – and expect a different result.
C-level executives have got to enter the discussion.
Social isn’t a fad! Executives must first accept this one fundamental truth. Your business is being disrupted. How people make buying decisions has changed. In order to adapt to this new reality, companies must create a social business strategy that considers the “new” customer lifecycle from beginning to end. Sales, Marketing and Service folks must break out of their silos, trash traditional thinking and work together to create an experience that wows from beginning to end.
Let go of what you think you know.
As with the technologies that preceded them, social, digital and mobile have continued to further evolve. Some of you are too young to remember that there was actually a time when we didn’t text or communicate via email on our phones. We certainly didn’t surf the web or talk to our friends on Facebook. Nope, we actually just used the mobile phone to make phone calls. Weird, I know.
These days buyers use multiple devices to remain connected – laptops, smart phones, iPad’s, tablets and soon Google Glass. They can access news and information when and how they prefer to consume it. They do not rely on your marketing, PR or advertising to make their buying decisions. They gather information from multiple sources, and they rely on the peer reviews of others when making a decision to purchase or not. Why? Sorry, but they don’t trust your pitch.
Social, digital, heck, the web in general has completely changed expectations of what buyers want from the companies who seek to gain a share of their wallets. And I believe that the number one expectation today’s buyer has is that your company has to EARN the right to do business with them.
How do you earn that right?
By creating and delivering buying experiences that cultivate trust, loyalty and advocacy. Understand what your buyer cares about, speak to what is important to them, treat them with respect, honesty, transparency and fairness throughout the buying process, and they will reward you many times over. Keep talking at them or burn them when something goes wrong and in a nanosecond they will tell everyone they know to avoid you. This applies whether you touch the buyer as an executive, a marketer, sales person or customer service representative.
Though I have evangelized the importance of sellers using social media as part of their sales process, I have always believed that sales, marketing and service must be completely aligned when creating an overall experience that moves a prospect from interest to sale to happy customer. If any of the pieces are broken, you lose.
Do you know what it is like to try and do business with your company?
The irony is that most companies probably have no idea what it is like to be a potential customer. I think of one “big data” company who doesn’t even use the data to qualify buyers. Instead, they put sales resources into having reps call anyone who attended their webinar. How do I know? I know because I run a small business and am not their target client. It did not matter. They had sales reps calling and emailing me anyway. This is a classic example of a customer acquisition process that wasn’t thought through from beginning to end. I wish I could say that this was the exception rather than the norm.
If you are an executive, in marketing, sales or customer service, here is my challenge to you.
Pretend YOU are the potential customer. Go through every step of the buying process just as buyer would. Pick your website apart. Carefully review your social media marketing messages. Make a call to the sales department and experience what it feels like to have features, benefits and a product demo pushed on you. Reach out to customer service with a problem – phone, Twitter and Facebook. How was the problem handled? What was the response time?
Once you have done these things, rate the experience. Would you buy from your company? If your answer isn’t a resounding hell yeah, that was awesome, you need to stop, rethink whatever you think you know and roll up those sleeves… you have work to do!
Our city is often overlooked for reasons that I don’t understand. Some of the world’s largest and most respected corporate brands are headquartered here. Names you will recognize like Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, UPS, AFLAC and Newell Rubbermaid being just a few of them. Oh, and my company is based here too!
We also have a thriving technology community with many promising start-ups poised to do big things. Fortunately for Atlanta, Robin has vision and decided that the ATL was the destination for her conference. Thank you, Robin!
I’m contributing this post to the Sales Thought Leaders blog, but honestly, my thoughts, comments and observations are for business leaders at all levels.
I have to say that the biggest thrill of the conference was finally meeting a cadre of people that I’ve known online for some time. When I think about how social media has completely collapsed the world – in a good way – it is amazing how many people you develop personal and professional relationships with before you ever, if ever, meet them in person. I hung with a gang of rock stars (they know who they are!), and I learned from their perspectives and insights about social media’s impact on business.
Now the things that I would change…
- The promise of the conference agenda was to “shake up” thinking about social media and the impact on business. In fact, the conference promotions even said that content would focus on more than marketing. In large part, it did not. And even though the presentations were good, nothing earth shattering or ground breaking was presented. To be fair, with multiple sessions going on, I couldn’t attend them all. Maybe someone was gobsmacked in another room, but as I talked to colleagues it seemed the general impression was that the focus was marketing oriented.
- The opening keynote was weak and highlighted the good, the bad and the ugly about marketing in this new age of digital. I felt it set the wrong tone. Frankly, I would have led with Brian Solis, who keynoted Day 2. If you are going to shake it up, start with talking about Social Business as your strategy not social media marketing tactics.
- Content light on sales – 1 pre-workshop, which people paid extra to attend (I was on the panel) and 1-panel/case study with IBM’s inside sales team leaders. Out of 38 sessions, only 1 main session on the conference track for sales.
- Marketers largely don’t understand the sales side of the business. They should stop acting like they do. In one session on customer engagement, I asked how the speaker’s company was empowering sales people to use social to educate, influence, engage and develop potential customer relationships in new ways. The answer? We helped them clean up their LinkedIn profiles, and we cue up offers for them to share. Really? Offers? That’s it?
- Yes, Dorothy, like most things in business, work is required. One somewhat arrogant panel marketer turned consultant expert said it was “hard work” and you shouldn’t expect sales to take that on. What? I don’t believe in being rude but I wanted to say, stick to marketing girlfriend; you have no idea what you are talking about. Sales people MUST learn to incorporate social networking strategies into their sales process or the competition will eat their lunch and prospects will pass them by.
- Content light on customer service. Even those sessions that purported to focus on the customer actually did not. The community sessions were good but the overarching focus was “marketing” and “content”. I thought the best customer session was the one entitled Throwing Open the Floodgates: Empowering Employees. The panel shared some great insights into how to turn employees into online advocates and brand ambassadors for their companies. The overriding message was to have a process, give employees training and support and let them go.
- More tactical than strategic. We have to stop talking about creating a “socially enabled enterprise” but then default to social media marketing tactics. The conversation is not happening at the right level in most organizations – the C-Suite. Social and digital media affects the “business”. Does your organization have a Social Business Strategy? Or have you simply put marketing in charge of driving the bus?
Leaders at all levels need to ask themselves, how are sales, marketing, service and even the finance department aligned to a Social Business Strategy that focuses on the customer experience? Marketing might crank out a great offer, but what happens when customer service is overwhelmed and cannot keep up with demand? How will you handle the ensuing backlash when customers feel they are not getting support through traditional channels – as happened to me this week with Comcast – and go online to seek out help but no one bothers to respond?
Next year, I want the conference to “shake it up” by targeting the C-Suite executives. In large majority, attendees were marketers mixed with some sales and service folks. If you consider that far too many executives still think social is a fad, or that social is merely a function of the marketing department, we have a widening gap between how customers buy and what they expect and what companies deliver. Until addressed at the highest level, the problem is only going to get bigger.
Executives need to get engaged. They need to attend next year’s conference, learn and have their outdated assumptions challenged. And we need sessions that walk these executives through the why and how of creating a Social Business Strategy that drives customer experience at every level. Until then, you can talk about shaking things up all you want but all you are really doing is slapping lipstick on a pig.
I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t read about companies touting how important it is for them to deliver a stellar customer experience. Think Apple. I also hear executives from companies, including our own clients talk about their focus on improving upon and delivering on a customer experience that wows.
But does the talk always match the walk?
In two unrelated personal situations, it became obvious to me that the people chartered with delivering the said WOW customer experience haven’t gotten the memo about how important it is. Even though the people are nice enough, the overall experience wasn’t all that!
Here’s the story of just one situation…
Early last week, I had an important need to upgrade our credit card processing service. The promise is that the process takes 2-days. A longtime customer, I was confident all would go smoothly. While that was mostly the case, there were a few bumps in the road…
The story begins with finding out that there was a limit to the credit card processing dollar amount on my current account plan. That meant that a customer transaction couldn’t not currently be handled. I needed to upgrade my account. OK, I put in the application to apply for the software upgrade needed. How tough could it be?
A day later, I receive a phone call from one of the reps who needed to “grill me” on my business and the services offered. It was like I had to justify myself as a business professional by someone who clearly knew nothing about my business.
Next, I’m told that I have to submit additional paperwork (contact, payment terms, etc)– to prove I’m legit, because I guess the Federal Tax ID and owning a business for 10 years wasn’t sufficient.
I receive an email with instructions to FAX the documents to a specific number. I do that immediately.
Next day, I receive a phone call from another rep that evidently confused my application with something else, which got me confused. Now I’m wondering why the rep that I talked to the day before didn’t tell me that I had not signed up for what I thought that I did. Now I’m becoming annoyed, but the gal on the line with me says she’ll clear it up.
She also tells me that she called because the documents I was to send to them had not been received. I said I faxed them at 5pm the day before and have confirmation. Oh, she says, it can take up to 24 hours for us to receive the paperwork. Of course, they don’t tell you that up front. She then goes on to say that it is faster if I upload them through my account. I do that while on the phone with her. I then ask why – if it’s better to upload through the account – that this information isn’t in the email that they send to you. I’m not sure she says…this happens all the time. Uh, hello, fix it someone.
Ten minutes later my rep calls me back. Turns out, I’m not crazy. She made a mistake. I had applied for the right service upgrade. I’m wondering if we can now finally move this forward.
I’m told I’m good to go. No, wait. I’m not. The credit card is American Express. Another approval needed. That clears and I get the email saying things are all set.
I input the credit card transaction and it goes through smoothly. But…wait for it…
Bam – I go to transfer funds to the company bank account and I receive an error that says that funds cannot be transferred until I submit requested paperwork. This is the very same paperwork that the gal the day before confirmed she had in hand.
End of story…I write customer service about my problem and give them the names, dates, times, I talked to folks. Someone woke up and cleared up the issue.
I’m sure you have your stories too. There are just too darn many examples of how lousy service provided by most companies really is. In my example, it is redundant phone calls, faxing documents as told, but then told that uploading documents is faster and moves your account processing along. People not clear on the product that I was purchasing. Having funds being put on hold because another service doesn’t see the documents in my account? Is this a case of people looking at different systems and maybe they aren’t all tying together? Whatever the reasons, this is a process that needs some cleaning up.
This cost me about 2 hours of my billable time. Exactly how is that a great customer experience?
My recommendation to every company out there…
Stop talking about how important creating that WOW customer experience is to your business and actually do something about it.
Here’s a thought…
Find out for yourself what it is like to be on the receiving end of what you believe to be great service. Put every single one of your service people…heck, everyone in your company…through the process of your customer experience. I guarantee that the exercise will give you a whole new perspective about the type of service experience your customers and prospects are actually receiving!