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Why Are Smart Companies Getting Stupid?

Yes, I know this title is an “in your face” title, yet, it seems to be true more often than I care to see. The primary focus of this statement is geared to how they are interacting with their customers ( actually a lack of interaction is more accurate.)
To show what I mean here are two examples using well known companies. One is a retail service provider and the other is a technology company.

First, the retail service company is Comcast. This is a company that spends millions of dollars to attach new customers into their world, yet, seems to be the cheapest company in the world relative to after the sell – customer service or support.

  • They are pros at centralizing call support centers. Costs are more important than true service.
  • They are pro’s at having “ads” on everything they do – from holding for a service tech to using their guide for selecting a channel. I get really tried of listening to how to find an answer on their website – when their web connection service is the reason I’m on the phone. A separate repair phone number would fix this stupid.
  • They record illegal requests in their music on hold. Never ask for a person’s Social Security number. Do they know SSN’s are supposed to be private and not shared with everybody. GEEZ!
  • They have no idea what it is like to have to “take off” an entire day to meet one of their “in home or in business” service personnel. Seems every other company in the world with a customer focus and narrow this window down to at least one hour. What a difference it makes for planning your day.
  • They cannot process two accounts (same people – different locations) without separate checks and separate mailing – thus doubling the direct expenses of the consumer for stamps. Even the electronic payment cannot get this one right. Ever received a dunning call from Comcast – when you knew the bill was paid? And, it would have been a simple act of cross referencing the accounts to see their accounting system had double paid one account by the exact amount of the second bill. Interesting. The solution from Comcast – pay the bills separately each month since they cannot do it right on their end. A second GEEZ!
  • In this age of technology, how do they know nothing about the timing of a repair situation? Reminded of the old saying – “Let the Buyer Beware.”

The above are example of real life customer service stupid from a very large organization. There is a lesson to learn from this – first, have you looked into your own organization? How many of the above stupids can be found? Are there other forms of these within your customer contact opportunities?

Okay, it is time for the second example and everyone knows this one – Google.

Seems the all mighty Google is really getting arrogant about how the customer interacts with them.

First, there is no direct customer contact with Google. Ever found a phone number for this organization? It cannot be done by normal folks.

Second, they expect everyone to figure out their online documentation which is mostly printed text. (Which sounds exactly like the tech world I engaged back in the 1970’s and 80’s. GEEZ, have they not learned anything new in over 30 years?

Third, the detail oriented tech folks living in cubicles in the Google world, make decisions about how customers will use their service in a complete vacuum of non-customer interactions.

Case in point: Google Analytics is a great service and I have been using it years. The home page of Google Analytics has been a summary page. This enables a “busy person or manager” a quick review of the activity within each account being tracked. Basically a log-in and one quick and you can review up to 100 websites. Well, beginning January 2012, the summary page goes away by Google’s choice – leaving no customer option or alternative for the summary view. It will take up to fifteen clicks per website to get the information originally found on one page. A Triple GEEZ!

Fourth, Google is showing is arrogance toward it’s public – all the users on both sides – that it does not care about you. In fact, you will get no opportunity to learn anything when they decide to take an action which hurts companies or individuals. They show they don’t care about you.

In conclusion, the lessons to be learned are several, yet, the thing to remember if you desire to be an excellent and profitable company is to…

Put the Customer Needs First, rather than Your Internet Desires.

Your action idea is to review how easy is it for your customer to work with you? Is it easy for them to learn how you do things or explanations for what happens when they are working with you.

The big test is review or have someone else review – What Elements of your Customer interactions are designed to help your customer, rather than to help your internal systems? Think about “How easy is it to do business with your company?”

If your review results have a ratio above 60% in favor of your internal systems, you have some work to do in 2012 to become more customer oriented. Make it easy for customers to do business with you and build a loyal customer base. So, unless you have near monopolistic power in the marketplace – like Comcast and Google – interact with your customers often. You will win more often with loyal customers.

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Voss Graham

CEO / Sr Business Advisor at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Voss Graham is an Organizational Architect with 30+ years of experience designing sustainable business growth for organizations of all sizes. Creating the Strategic Focus with the Executive Leadership Teams, he uses Systems & Process to ensure the Drivers for Business Growth are Executed at the Highest Levels. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings - contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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Voss Graham

Voss Graham is an Organizational Architect with 30+ years of experience designing sustainable business growth for organizations of all sizes.
Creating the Strategic Focus with the Executive Leadership Teams, he uses Systems & Process to ensure the Drivers for Business Growth are Executed at the Highest Levels. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings – contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.