I moved house last month … in some ways, I’m still moving house but I’m very conscious of the fact that I’m not the only person in history to move house and my rants, rages, vents and exhaustion are not unique to me and not interesting to anyone else. But what I do think is interesting is the fact that the Founder of a business who often advises clients on customer experience had two weeks of super charged customer experience moments that are worthy of sharing – and learning from.
In what will make our most loyal reader proud, my mother knows I’m back to being a reader. In the previous residence, bedroom light switch was above the bed; new place – not so, which creates need for a bedside lamp. Online order, quick delivery but unpacked to find bulb-less. Is this a deal breaker – absolutely not. The new mortgage can cope with a light bulb but from a customer experience perspective, it would have been nice. Buying things new and receiving deliveries is great – there’s excitement, anticipation and endorphins released. But instead, when the product doesn’t ‘work’, there’s disappointment – yes I could walk to the shop and get a bulb but there’s a flat pack desk that has obviously come with wrong instructions to look at.
Here’s a classic case of identifying a need, finding a way to solve this pain-point and delivering to it. Wanting to upgrade my fridge, I also needed to find a way to get rid of the old one. Advertising front and centre that you remove old appliances at no charge meant I didn’t even bother compare prices. 5 star customer experience.
The team at The Interpreters know that I like to hear voices – why spend time emailing me a question when you can look across the desk and ask me. But I’m not averse to online channels. So when I needed to get electricity temporarily connected for viewings of previous place, I thought I would start online. OK, that’s a lie, I couldn’t find the contact us telephone number on the website which was no doubt designed that way. I chatted online to a ‘real person’, explained what I needed succinctly and then 25 minutes later was told to call the elusive number I wasn’t able to find. When I finally spoke to a real person, I quickly established this was a temporary connection – would be 2 days max, didn’t care about what, how or why. But I was subjected to 19 minutes of a pre-prepared sales pitch about plans, customer care, benefits, ethics and everything else. Where I wanted Tinder, I got the slow dance at the local Church. Where I hoped the repeated phrase ‘temporary connection’ somehow and somewhere triggered a deviation in the pre-prepared speech, it clearly didn’t and now dreading our break up in two night stand.
The reason for this blog is I basically bought a house over email. Don’t worry, I went to open for inspections and usual process but the real estate agent asked me to make an offer over email and then continued to negotiate via this channel. It was not only fascinating to see / read but in my opinion, worked in my favour as there was no emotion in handling what should have been an emotional decision. Being an off-market property took the auction factor out of the equation but asking me to raise my bid via email had so little impact compared to a pleading phone call. I had the time to wait, not get caught up in the emotion and thinking rationally. Being in control and not responding gave me the position of power when roles should have been reversed.
So what does the lamp, the fridge, the power and the house have in common? Not a lot which is the real lesson where when it comes to customer experience. Yes, there need to be options for customers to engage and interact with you but you need to get the balance between channel cost efficiencies versus customer satisfaction. Want to know where I got my fridge – will tell you. Wanting a real estate agent to sell your property – can tell you who to avoid. Want power connected – allocate time. And want to know what book I’m reading at night … can’t tell you yet.
By Paul Dixon