Shopping, Anyone?

Published onĀ September 2, 2000

It’s time for you to go shopping. But instead of going to the mall, shop your company.
Haven’t you been frustrated when you called a vendor and their voice mail was too long creating undo aggravation on your part? Or how about when it takes what seems like an eternity to have a technical representative finally get on the phone?

Or how about this scenario? My wife and I went to a furniture store and bought her a complete office set-up for the home. We arranged for a friend to come over and help assemble the stuff only to find that the wrong stuff was sent, the goods were damaged and we were left with no functional office. When we called the store to complain, we were connected to the customer service voice mail to leave a message. This store had the gall to make me leave a message in my heightened state of agitation. In calling back and seeking a manager, the result was the same-voice mail. Can you believe a reputable company provided this lousy service (names will be withheld to protect the innocent)?

While I am confident that your company does not perform as poorly as the furniture store described above, the fact is there may be some things going on in the customer interaction process that is sabotaging your efforts to provide quality service and products. It may even jeopardize your proclaimed mission and the large sums of money you are investing in advertising your differentiated advantage.

Many times we are not even aware of the problems because many customers simply fail to call us and complain. They let us know by not coming back again and spreading the word of their misfortune, such as what I am doing here.

So do yourself a favor. Shop your company. Don’t let your employees know it is you. They will act differently in speaking to the boss than others. See how easy it is to use your technology and conduct business. Ask if the service and quality you are getting is equal to what you want your customers to receive? Are you in fact backing up what you preach?

Go on this shopping trip often. You never know when those pesky little problems will come up and derail your efforts.

Posted in