My Manager Says…

I had an extremely circular conversation with Becky from the Co-Operative car insurance team today. I was very (very) good as I didn’t allow any hint of frustration or incredulity slip into my voice. Nonetheless, having had a 20 min chat with the Co-Op Home Insurance – my home insurance provider – Customer Services team who ended up assuring me in unequivocal terms that the included legal protection policy extended to motor cars and all things related Becky insists that the home insurance part – “nuffink to do wiv us” – are wrong.

“I asked and my manager says no…”.

Can you see how good I was not to get frustrated or be incredulous? The Co-Op is The Co-Op is The Co-Op, end of discussion. The letterheads are similar, the font identical, colours the same etc etc. I already buy insurance from them and they provide the electricity. It’s The Co-Op and that’s as far as I care.

Not for The Co-Op apparently. We are one but we are totally different is how they operate. I suggested to young Becky that she might like to direct her manager towards page 24 of the home insurance policy document which, sadly, I have read. It is very specific in the exclusions and cars ain’t in it. Anywhere. Nein. Nada. Nach. You get the idea. Deaf ears because….wait for it….”my manager says no”.

Gotta love joined up thinking in companies. It is doubly frustrating because I want the Co-Op to be good. I am emotionally invested in their brand, which is something they just don’t seem to get.

After all that the quote was twice that of elsewhere. 25 min on the dog’n’bone, but I did hang out all the washing and do the dishes so not really a loss of time.

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Blovember #6 – Why wait for poor service?

I have just read a rant on Facebook where a customer of BestBuy in Calgary felt very hard done by because the staff in-store were rubbish and despite nothing else to do they ignored them whilst standing around doing nowt. They waited 5-9 minutes apparently. Not only does such a statement imply that the complainant is pretty bad at judging the passing of time it also says to me that they had nothing better to do than wait and work themselves up whilst plotting their punitive retaliation (embarrass them using social media). there is nothing to suggest they even attempted to escalate the issue at a store level.

Whilst this is just rubbish service I don’t think you have earned the right to complain if you did nothing. There will be a manager on duty and I’ll bet that summoning them – the mere act of – will be a bit of a rocket to the lazy assistants. As a manager I’d dearly like to know if my customers are not receiving a level of service that delights them. As a manager I can’t improve it for you or other customers if you wait, bottle up your unhappiness and then snipe at us using Facebook (despite the dire threats to splash the entire world of social media with this example of egregious treatment they posted it on the US BestBuy page and not the Canadian one. BestBuy politely pointed this out. I only saw it because a contact reposted it.).
Staff make mistakes, staff are sometimes lazy, offensive, bring personal issues to work etc etc. All to be avoided but the fact is they do happen. There is a difference between a one-off and repetitive crap behaviour. Maybe the manager needs replacing? Who knows if you don’t bring it up.

By all means expect and demand high levels of service but don’t shy away from bringing it up with first-line  management if you don’t get it. Being a customer in the real world isn’t a completely one-way track. Do your bit before you take to the airwaves to shout about your unhappiness. Try being part of the solution and not just part of the problem. No change will come if you shirk your responsibilities as a customer.

Learn from CostCo

I am a member and was perusing the latest free magazine. Whether it’s a promo puff or not there was a very enlightening article. Long before it was fashionable CostCo had a customer centric philosophy. Still does.

This is a logo for Costco.

 

People make a big deal about transformation, customer-centricity (language mangling that only a management consultant could love and perpetuate), customer centred organisations, customer first blah, blah, etc, etc, etc.

The theory isn’t hard. Start with a respect for your customer and ensure that no matter how big the organisation grows that that respect remains. Alone that will shape your growth appropriately.

The learning from this? The respect for the customer starts at the beginning and the focus should never waver.

Regards; The Sales Department…

A customer engages with you via email. You reply. The email obviously has an automatic signature. So what? For pity’s sake use a real name. Hank, Bill, Zachary, Claire, Emma, whatever. A pseudonym will do as I have no idea.

I just received an email signed “Regards, Sales Dept”. I wrote back – politely – suggesting that they use a name and the person at the other end, with no irony whatsoever , offered a reply to my original query and signed off “Regards, Sales Dept”. It’s enough to make you start looking for the hidden cameras. Or weep with despair.

The learning?

Email is accepted as a person to person medium so whatever the size of your business make your customer feel like they are dealing with a person. It shows a good deal of contempt for the customer not to bother to engage them on a personal level. What’s more, this is a no cost way of making your service personal. Who’d miss that one?