Exactly what it says on the tin…?

There is a great TV ad for Ronseal Woodcare products which has the strap line ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’.  If only that were true of all the products and services we buy.  How often do we fail to get the delivery we were expecting, when we were expecting it and to the standard we wanted?  There is no way an organisation can work towards giving their customers a great experience if they can’t do ‘exactly what they’ve said on their tin’.  This has to be the very bare minimum starting point for any customer experience.
Yet this fact seems to have passed them by.  Take the phone company who I contracted to reinstall the connection to my new home. They took my order, arranged the date and sorted a contract.  I had clearly told them they would have to send an engineer to fit a phone socket because there was no longer one in the property.  A few weeks later when they rang to check on my experience so far and to make the arrangements at this point I was told that if the connection didn’t work at the appointed switch on date then I could call them to arrange an engineer’s visit.  How would I know it hadn’t worked, I had no socket to connect a phone to?  I had asked for an engineer’s visit at the time I made the contract with them and now I am told this could only happen if the connection couldn’t be done from the exchange, which they wouldn’t know until they switched me on. Why won’t they believe me when I tell them it won’t work because I have no socket!  My phone line would not be delivered at the arranged time to any standard.  I had a negative customer experience.
It is easy to spot the customer focus of an organisation by playing a simple game.  We call it the ‘Blame Game’.  All you do is listen to the reasons given for the failure in delivery.  Have a go yourselves, it’s a lot of fun. Here are some examples to get you started:
‘The system’s down’.
‘We deliver in your area on a Thursday.’  ‘I’m not there on a Thursday’ I reply.  ‘In that case you will have to make arrangements to be there so we can deliver.’
‘We are not authorised to tell you how to complain.’
‘It is not possible to tell you the name of our Chief Executive.’
‘‘They’ haven’t filled in the field.’
This tells you loud and clear that people are wedded to a process which is far more important than you, the customer. 
They have likely been given targets for implementing the process.  They are accountable for their role in the process – not for the way they help their customer.  Thus ‘the process’ is the customer experience. 
So let’s have some honesty.  Don’t talk about how focused you are on the customer experience if you really mean your team is focused on service delivery. 
Let’s all understand that delivering ‘exactly what it says on your tin’ has to be the very minimum standard for any customer experience.

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