Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Do Customers Need a Safety Net?

Image courtesy of mrbuffra
Do you have a safety net in place for your customers? Or can they unintentionally hurt themselves?

I had an interaction with my bank recently that got me thinking about a lot of things, not the least of which was, "Why is the banking experience still so bad?" Beyond that, I also wondered:
  • Does technology really improve the customer  experience or not? (I've written about this previously, here and here.)
  • When will banks focus on the multichannel experience, where the responses, information, and policies spewed forth are consistent not only from one customer service rep to another but also from the call center to the branch?
  • When will they get the concept of the omnichannel experience? Don't they have the technology yet to facilitate multi and/or omni?
  • Should companies have a "customer safety net?"
This last question is the one I want to explore a bit more right now.

In this recent interaction with my bank, there were no fewer than three points of failure for me because I didn't know all of the bank's rules and policies. (Turns out, neither do its employees.)

Absent human intervention - assuming the humans knows all the rules, too - could there have been a safety net built into their technology to save me from failure, embarrassment, and a boatload of stress? The answer: absolutely. Three little flags or checks in their system, and my weekend wouldn't have been ruined. Those flags would have stopped me from doing something that I apparently wasn't supposed to, or allowed to, do.

But there were no flags, no safety nets; instead, companies assume their customers know all the rules and can, therefore, abide by them. I can't possibly know all the rules; their employees don't even know them.

So, why not help your customers? Why not make it easy to do business? Isn't it time to focus on the amount of effort your customers need to put forth to do business with your organization - and remove those items that cause the most pain? Wouldn't it be great if companies simply walked in their customers' shoes every once in a while?

So I ask you:
  • Do your customers know all of your rules and policies?
  • Do you expect them to?
  • Do your employees know all of your rules and policies?
  • Do you penalize customers for not knowing your rules and policies?
  • Or do you have a safety net in place to keep your customers from hurting themselves?

Nobody wants to fall into a safety net because it means the structure in which they've been living is in a state of collapse, and they have no choice but to tumble downwards. However, it beats the alternative. -Lemony Snicket


4 comments:

  1. I can't help but think that for some companies the lack of a safety net is what makes them money.

    Perhaps I am a cynic

    James

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. James, unfortunately, I cannot disagree.

      Delete
  2. Hi Annette,
    Now, I understand your comment on my recent piece. Wow! I hope they get it together quick.

    Adrian

    ReplyDelete