Do I Want To Do Business With This Company?

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Have you ever been extremely dissatisfied and/or even shocked by the way that a policy or process deployed by a business you were a customer of negatively impacted you?  Given that about 50% of US companies are currently engaged in some form of Customer Experience, ( CX ), Management initiative, (according to a recent Gartner Group study), many businesses are beginning to venture down the path of gaining a better understanding of how their customers interact with their employees and are affected by their protocols and processes.

Recently, I had, what would be described as, poor customer experiences resulting from badly conceived internal systems and processes while dealing with two nationwide and distinguished retail entities.

The first resulted from my experience purchasing a door for my home which required two visits to a retail location, (even though there are closer locations to my home I had to deal with the one I started the transaction with), followed by the realization that although the retailer offers delivery and installation services they are provided by sub-contractors whom the retailer has no control over or even timely coordination capability with.  The result was a lot of wasted time, and a 3 and ½ week time frame to receive an in store non-customized item. Additionally, there was my aggravation when dealing with the inefficiencies and delays that the retailer, who charged for the entire transaction, could not address on my behalf.

The second poor experience is with a large national drugstore retailer. It is the practice of this retailer to notify customers by text and/or phone each a prescription is filled.  Unfortunately, their system is not smart enough to view all the customer’s prescription refill schedules simultaneously necessitating multiple trips back and forth to the store over what can sometimes be a 3 – 4-day period.  To better understand how irritating and inefficient this is imagine that you are a customer at a fast food restaurant and you are forced to continue to make separate trips to the counter to get and pay for each element of your overall meal , instead of getting a whole tray of food and paying for it all at once.  A smart system would review the scheduling of a customers refills and either proactively group them for pick-up and give the customer the option of making one or multiple trips to the store.

In both of these cases having employees and managers for these retail establishments actually experience the perspective of a customer going through the same processes and inefficient systems may enable them to skip over a few steps in the CX Strategy development process as they would be extremely aware of some of the major problems that require attention.

Many companies engaging in CX Management initiatives may claim to “put the customer first,” or “focus on the customer.” However, if they fail to experience what their customers see they will likely be unable to be successful in changing a “bad” customer experience environment and executing a newly formed CX Strategy.

Changing the perspective means always taking on the viewpoint of the customer in the process of developing any customer-facing and/or impacting business process or operational rules. As part of any company’s development methodology, senior management’s primary question to the internal creators of operating processes and/or requirements should always be to ask whether the internal process creators have played the role of the customer to realize how they will be affected.

Ultimately, the ability for a business to consistently produce wonderfully memorable experiences for their customers is directly correlated to a dedicated effort by all employees — from senior management to front-line associates, to treat every customer impacting decision by first changing their perspective and asking: If I had to go through this process or deal with these requirements, would I want to continue being a customer of this company?