- They can print the boarding pass on their home or office printer.
- They can have the boarding pass sent to their smart phone.
If the shoe doesn't fit, should you still wear it?
We've all hear the saying that "Timing is everything." Surveys are no exception.
I almost didn't receive a FedEx package recently, because someone screwed up the shipping information. The package was shipped to the correct address, but the recipient's name - mine - was truncated.
The name appeared as "James Wa" instead of "James Watson."
I was a guest at the Omni Orlando in ChampionsGate, Florida. The package was to be held for me at the front desk. For two consecutive days, each time I called the desk to ask if the package had arrived, I was told, "No - nothing has arrived with your name on it." But the package was there the entire time.
Techncially, they were correct. My name wasn't on the package because the person entering the "Ship to" information typed the following 39 letters on the second line of the address:
"HOLD AT RECEPTION DESK FOR JAMES WATSON."
But only 35 of the 39 letters appeared on the shipping label when it printed. That's right, the software program that prints out the shipping labels will only print the first 35 letters. In 99.9% of the cases, I'm sure that's not an issue. But in my case, it was. And that's the only case I cared about on this particular day.
So who's at fault here?
An argument can be made for each of these, but regardless of who's at fault, there was a breakdown in a "back office" process that had caused me to not receive my "Next Day" package for 2 days. And that caused me to think negatively about 3 companies involved:
The Point is This:
It's not only the front-office, customer-facing employees that impact the customer experience; it's also the back-office employees and processes that can impact the experience, the brand and the reputation.
So, what to do about it?
Carefully map out the entire customer journey, but when you do, include behind the scenes processes that can impact the customer experience. It can be something as remote and banal as the number of characters that print out in and address field that can hurt your brand and reputation. It's these invisible factors that lurk beneath the surface that can really do damage. Don't let them.
What back-office experience factors exist in your business?
What can you do to fortify them?
"Would you hire this person to work for you?"
That was the only question that I had to answer after a phone call with Delta Customer Service; that was the entire survey. And it was a very good one for two reasons:
Delta didn't waste my time. A one-question survey that can be answered with one word takes very little time; so little in fact, that I liked Delta more after completing the survey, because I flet they respected my time. Long surveys can actually do more harm than good by alienating customers. Show your customers some respect, by keeping your surveys short. Nobody likes a lenghty interrogation.
Delta got a lot of value in return. They asked me a very "pithy" question that drove right to the heart of the matter: The quality of Customer Service is a function of the quality of the people delivering the service. And if you ask me if I'd actually hire the person that served me, I can't hide behind a "nice guy" feel-good response. I'm put in a position to give you an honest answer - or tell an outright lie (highly unlikey for most customers, especially when they're givng the answer by tapping a number on their telephone keypad).
Too many surveys ask light-weight questions like:
"Was the representative courteous?"
"Please rate your experience on a scale of 1 to 5."
Questions like that let the customer off easy; they skirt the real issue. And the real issue is: Did the service experience leave the customer feeling like they're buying from a first-class company? (Customers never stop buying from companies they consider to be first-class.)
Don't hesitate to put your customers on the spot, because we customers don't mind telling you what we really think. In fact, we prefer it. And so will you, because you'll have feedback that's more meaningful, and more useful. And that's why you're doing the survey in the first place, isn't it?
Too many companies spend too many resources trying to keep customers that they should never have sold to in the first place. Many of those companies would be better-off shifting resources from trying to retain customers that are a poor fit, and use those resources to more carefully target and acquire customers that are a better fit for their offering. These ideal customers value the offering more, and are therefore less likely to leave in the first place.
But sales reps can be quick to ignore the ideal customer profile and sell to any prospect with an ability and willingness to pay. An why shouldn't they? A sale is a sale, a dollar is a dollar, and a commission is a commission, even if a sales rep sells a round hole to a square peg.
But here's the problem: It takes time, money and effort to adjust a round hole to accomodate a square peg. But if you only sell to round pegs, there's no need to adjust the hole, and those resources are freed-up for more productive and profitable purposes - like sales and marketing intiatives to attract more round pegs).
So how to solve the problem?
Re-focus your sales qualification from "Can we sell our product to this customer?" to "Should we sell our product to this customer?" The traditional qualification process answers these four questions:
Adding a fifth criterion - Fit - will change the focus enough to assure that you're selling to the right customer:
5. Fit: Does the prospect match the criteria we've defined for our ideal customer?
By properly selecting each customer, you'll have happier customers and more advocates. You'll also spend less on implementation, customer support and customer retention. And that means more resources for attracting more of the right customers.
Why should you waste the effort driving square pegs into round holes, when a round peg is a better fit for your offering, and for your bottom line?
Have you ever been to a party full of strangers? Was it easier to have an enaging conversation with some people, and more awkward with others? Who asked you more questions? The easier people or the awkward people? Asking questions - good, thought-provoking questions - trigger deeper, engaging conversations, even with total strangers.
What works at a cocktail party also works in building customer relationships:
Asking people questions about them makes them more willing to spend time with you.
Asking people challenging questions causes them to think more deeply. When people think more deeply, they become mentally stronger.
Asking questions leads to answers which lead to new ideas.
Asking questions leads to discussion which leads to new knowledge.
Be the person that builds better relationships, spends time wisely, causes people to think deeply, come up with new ideas, and creates knowledge.
Be the person that asks good questions.
As customers, we're used to being asked to rate the companies we buy from.
But now, companies are beginning to rate the customers they sell to. Sure, lots of CRM-savvy companies have rated customers for loyalty-tracking, but they kept that information to themselves. What's different now is that companies like Uber, Airbnb, OpenTable are rating customers, and sharing those ratings with other service providers. And the service providers then use ratings to decide if they want to sell to those customers, or NOT.
According to a December 1 article in the New York Times, "The rating systems are allowing businesses to formalize a longstanding practice: focusing on their best customers.
"The worst customers “demand too much, complain too much and cost too much,” said Christopher Muller, professor of hospitality management at Boston University.
"Beyond that, he said, bad clients make employees unhappy. Companies, he said, do better by spending time on their best and most profitable patrons. “It sounds draconian, but not all customers are created equal,” he said."
In the past, if a restaurant received too many (legitimate) negative reviews about its menu, it would likely respond by making changes to the menu to delight more customers. Similarly, if a customer finds that he or she is being denied service, because they've been rude to other service providers, the customer is more likely clean up his act, and become a better customer. The result of these 2-way reviews is a greater population of good customers.
Here's where this can be a good thing for everyone:
So there we have it - while the 2-way review may seem unconventional, in the end it can create a virtuous cycle that improves the service environment for everyone!
What other benefits do you see, from 2-way reviews?