Raise your hand if you remember the radio or television police drama Dragnet. For the rest of you here’s a link from the History Channel. I reference Dragnet, so that I can borrow one of the many signature lines from the show, “Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.” This blog will honor that name changing tradition as I will come up with a pseudonym for a technology provider who gave me a front-row seat into five lessons on things NOT TO DO in pursuit of customer experience excellence.
Do not oversell
Let’s call the company “One Lane Tech.” After being sold a pricey upgrade to an existing business technology solution as well as a comprehensive support package, we anticipated some challenges implementing our upgrade – even though our sales person tried to suggest that our journey would be filled with bunny rabbits and rainbows. Therein is our first lesson – trust is based on truth and effective expectation setting – don’t oversell the best case to the detriment of what is most likely. Our initial and reasonable early challenges would have been far easier to handle if proper expectations had been set.
Do not have customers chase the solution
Help your customers navigate your business silos, integrate solutions, and don’t send your customer on a discovery adventure.
At the onset of our month-long transition juggernaut, we described an integration problem and opened a service ticket. Our first technician was prompt in his response but suggested the problem was “not in his lane” and as such he asked if he could close his ticket and open a ticket with someone who specialized in what he thought our problem might be. Fast forward 29 days later, when our hopping from “lane to lane” saga had us both at the brink of despair and nearing termination of our contract.
Fortunately for “One Lane Tech,” we finally stumbled into the “right lane” and had our problem resolved in five minutes by a knowledgeable and kind technician. Alas, my team invested about 60 hours chasing a 5-minute solution because “One Lane Tech” was hellbent on hyperspecialized departments that opened tickets for other departments without collaborating to find the root cause of the problem.
Do not reward behavior at odds with customer needs
My third lesson relates to business metrics. Transactional metrics must be linked to customer success. Don’t reward behavior that is at odds with the needs of the customers. Along our service journey, “One Lane Tech’s” agents expressed an urgency to close tickets (even though we didn’t have problem resolution). It became apparent that the company was evaluating an agent’s performance based largely on how quickly they could label a case closed.
Do not use scripts to address genuine human emotions
Lesson four is that words without authenticity ring hollow. Don’t use scripts to address genuine human emotions.
We heard a lot of what seemed like scripted verbiage during our extended relationship with “One Lane Tech’s” service agents. Almost daily we heard certain phrases echoed verbatim: “I know this must be difficult.” “Let me assure you…” “I will do everything I can to fix this for you.” Those statements were usually followed by something like, “…but this is not in my area so I will send you to someone else who will get back to you tomorrow.
Do not consider any customer problem routine
And lesson five is to act with urgency. Don’t consider any customer problem small or routine just because it is but one of many you will face on any given day. For us, our problem was anything but routine and its impact created a mini-crisis and a huge resource drain!
Ok, there are the “five do nots” born from our recent service experience. They tee-up a bonus lesson, which is, do not expect most customers to change your brand name to protect the guilty when they talk about you to family and friends. My momma told me if I couldn’t say something nice I shouldn’t say anything at all. Clearly, that’s not how social media works!
If you want assistance in avoiding the “don’ts” of customer experience delivery, reach out to me and I will make sure you will get integrated care as all our lanes strive to work together! I look forward to connecting with you soon.
This article was originally published on Customer Think.
Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., an organizational consultant and the chief experience officer of The Michelli Experience, authored The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the best-selling The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary.