As customers, we love it when our lives are made easy. And the opposite is also true:
We absolutely hate it when you make our lives difficult, especially when we think our request is pretty darn simple...
Like terminating my service with Direct TV.
My family and I recently moved to a new home in a nearby town. As part of the move, we decided to simplify our lives by combining telephone, TV and Internet access into a single account, with a single service provider.
When I called the customer service center at Direct TV to ask that my service be terminated as of July 1, I thought that the entire call would take no more than five minutes.
I was wrong - way wrong.
First, the representative asked me a series of questions to lead me down a path to reconsider my decision, and install Direct TV at my new home. I politely repeated my decision to terminate the service, and he then moved on to the next stage of his process - explaining the steps I'd need to go through, to return the equipment, finalize billing and the time frame involved for each. The call exceeded 28 minutes. And I thought that my request was a simple one.
I've never been through a divorce, but I suspect the process is similarly long and grueling.
Here's the point:
When you design your customer-facing business processes, design them with the customer in mind. Remember that customers like fast. We like easy. We like simple.
Test any proposed process from the customer's perspective. If it's not fast, easy and simple, change it until it is.
Now, you may be thinking, "Why does it matter? The customer who is leaving me no longer matters."
Not so. Customers come and go, and could come back again in the future, especially if they have good memories of you; memories of how easy you were to work with the first time. Not to mention the what they may tell their friends about you in the interim.
Develop a reputation for being easy. Customers appreciate that.