05 April 2010

Do You Really Care About Your Customer?

So let's see if you pass the Professor's test criteria:

1. Do you put your 800 Number/access telephone in the work flow before he/she purchases?
2. Do you answer your phone and have metrics for acceptable performance
3. Is your service consistent no matter which channel your customer reaches you.
4. Do you reward your staff based on number of calls rather than quality of calls?
5. Do you give your agents the ability to solve the customer's issue including paying compensation
6. Do you have more than 2 layers of escalation from the first call touch point.
7. Do you actually answer emails?

I think you get my point. I cannot think of any one Travel Business that has the right characteristics. And before you throw lots of rotten eggs at me - look inward first. Is it really a question of money?

So let me ask you if you understand what are the two things that the customer wants you to care about?

1. Don't treat me like an idiot
2. Remember that my time is more precious than yours.

If your philosophy enables your customer to feel that you actually are treating them with respect - firstly cut out that trashed old script. Throw out the efficiency paradigm. Efficiency is not the only metric. And take the time to understand his issue. And cardinal rule according to the professor is to let the customer take control of the conversation even if it is to allow him to rant.

One of my favorite writers about the Web is Gerry McGovern and his weekly piece is usually a tooth jarring reminder about our obligations and trust - sacred that it is - to the customer. The current arrogant behavior that many travel companies take to their user community is shameful.

In fact I try and stop using the word customer at all.

So let me leave you with the end comment on Gerry's blog: "What's the best attribute your web team can have? Caring about your customers time. Treat their time as a truly precious thing. Treat them as intelligent. Focus on service. Focus on what the customer wants to do, not what you want the customer to do. Solve their problem, not yours. It's a shift in thinking but it's where the future lies."


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