Oh No! What have we done? The unintentional barriers to building great Customer Experiences

Another episode this week from the soap-opera that could go by the title of “Customer Service – Yes;  Customer Experience – umm….”.

Think of the time and effort that companies invest in workshops, ‘ideation’ sessions and away-days to see how they can improve customer service.  “We want to build great Customer Experiences!” is the rallying cry.  The results must surely be inspirational and if everyone gets behind them, organic business growth will be sorted.

Several hours of flip-charts, ultra-strong coffee and spotting who’s trying to discretely tap away at their phone pass by.  Then the sticky notes get translated into a spreadsheet for people in the Product, Operations, Sales and Marketing teams to comment on and prioritise.  And the best ideas get evaluated, tweaked and implemented before you can say “What’s the impact on our customers?”.

So in my own personal soap-opera of life, I put before you Scene 1:  Boiler at home broke.  Called engineer.  Came next day.  Rang when he was half an hour away.  Very polite and efficient.  Fixed the problem.  Great, so far.  Engineer suggests I might like a call to see if switching supplier could save me money.  They’re one of the largest utility companies in the UK.  I say Ok.  Next day, have a chat with very polite lady and get a quote.  Actually, it sounds a better deal than the one I’m on.  And they’ve proven their service quality with the engineer.  I’m interested.

If we press the pause button for a moment, we can see that there’s been a great attention to customer service – all the boxes have been ticked and there must be some very proud people in head office who managed to link up the infrastructure between the engineer and the sales team.  Nice one.  Back to the call.

Yes, I’m interested in switching.  We discuss the logistics and it all sounds relatively easy.  The lady asks if I want to sign-up now.  Not just yet, I want to think about it for a day or so.  Don’t like rushing such things.  I’ll call you back.  That’s not an option, I’m told.  Eh?  I can either sign-up now or have another call in a few days where we’ll run through everything again and get a new quote.  Do you have an option for the customer to call you back, I ask.  No, there are no in-bound lines for customers.  Cue the closing credits.

Working together to build great customer experiences

Needless to say, I haven’t changed my energy supplier but only because I couldn’t contact them.   Quite unbelievable that they’d put in the hard yards to get a customer on-side and then have such a barrier in place.  Is the way I felt as a result really what those workshops set out to achieve?

There’s that famous quote about 80% of companies saying they offer superior service, yet only 8% of their customers agree and say they get superior service.  How true.  Another series of workshops please, this time with a starring role for the customer.

Now that’s one soap-opera I would watch.

Jerry Angrave
Customer Experience Consultant
+44 (0) 7917 718072
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