wacky or wonderful?

Examples of business priorities both wacky and wonderful can be observed every day through the customer experience. What priorities does your customer experience expose? Are they wacky or wonderful?

Wacky business priorities in action:
My wife runs a gift shop with customers across the world, so she has to ship items frequently, especially during the holidays. The United States Postal Service chose the busiest time of year to radically change their online tracking system. When my wife, a pretty savvy software user, needed to chat with customer support to troubleshoot a buggy experience, the representative told her the problem was her browser choice; she needed to switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox to use the functionality she needed. Put another way, USPS opted to support the 1-in-4 user scenario and not the 3-in-4 user scenario, again, during the busiest shipping month of the year. As though that weren’t bad enough, the representative with whom she was chatting was dismissive and disdainful of her for being one of the 75% of online users that isn’t using Firefox.

This was a less than ideal customer experience. What could have driven USPS to make these decisions? What business priority won out over providing reliable mission-critical services?

Wonderful business priorities in action:
My laptop is old by laptop standards. In my experience, after 5 years, it’s time to get a new laptop. This belief seemed validated over the past few months as my laptop began shutting down in apparently random circumstances. When it started shutting down more frequently, it seemed related to video playback. After troubleshooting and consultation, I assumed the CPU fan was dying. I hoped I could replace it, but I prepared myself for the possibility that I would need to buy a new PC.

While I was calling around town to find out how likely and expensive a repair might be, I spoke with Aleem, a repair guy at HardDrives Northwest, a local small business with a great reputation for integrity, quality, and service. He listened to my story and concluded that I probably just needed to blow some dust out with pressurized air. It hadn’t occurred to me; I’ve had several laptops and never needed to clean the insides. I was prepared to spend thousands on a new PC, or hundreds on a repair. Instead, I got some simple free advice. Now my laptop is good as new.

Without a doubt, great customer service is a priority to HDNW. How many repair shops would have defaulted to saying they needed to open the laptop up, incurring at least $100 in labor costs? How do companies foster the kind of caring service I received today, the kind of service that earns my loyalty?


About this entry