I’ve been shaking my fists and screaming at the walls lately. It seems as if my service providers have embarked on a conspiracy to drive me crazy and suck up my precious time. Here are just two recent examples: (more…)
“Thank you for calling Cooley-Dickinson Health Group – Hadley Family Practice. If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 911.”
“Thank you for calling Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children. We are dedicated to providing high quality care every day. If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 911.”
What’s wrong with this picture? Why on earth aren’t the medical emergency instructions given first?
This rankles me every time I get an answering machine at a medical facility. I can’t possibly believe you are dedicated to providing quality care if you would rather talk about it than do it by getting me off the phone as fast you can in an emergency.
- Distinguish between the need to build rapport and the need to get to the point.
- When it is time to get to the point, do it quickly.
- Don’t copy others when they are doing something stupid.
- And please don’t seize every opportunity to tell me how wonderful you are. Actions speak more loudly than words and spouting platitudes during a medical emergency will not convince me of your dedication to quality care.
P.S. While writing this, I wanted to see if other facilities had even longer messages than Tufts. That experiment didn’t last! Baystate Health and Mass General answered the phone!
If this is a medical emergency, don’t call me! But if you need clarity, dial 617-939-9654 ASAP!
It wasn’t until I was getting out of the shower that I realized the towels were stacked on the far side of my hotel room. How can that possibly make sense? And how can such a thing happen? Here are a few possibilities:
- Someone selected a designer with zero expertise. I don’t think this designer had ever even been to a hotel!
- Across-the-board cuts truncated the design process, surrendering results to “good enough.”
- Management wasn’t willing to spend money on final touches – like towel racks in the bathroom.
- Employees have never cared enough to point out the problem.
- Management is deaf to employee suggestions and/or customer complaints.
- Service standards are so low they leave bruises on your shins.
- The schedule was so tight, no one thought things through.
The answer could be any or all of the above. What do you think?
I joined an organization for the first time 16 months
ago. I was their easiest acquisition ever. I walked into an event and, instead of paying for the event, I paid the annual membership fee. They were pleased as punch.
Before the year was up, I moved. When I received a bill for a second round of annual dues, I was undecided. I lived a hundred miles away and was unlikely to attend their events, though I did have lots of clients and contacts among their members. I stuck the bill in a drawer where I did not forget it entirely.
After 45 days, I received another statement. Now I was actually amused. Even if I had been ready to renew, I almost wanted to wait just to see if this organization was going to call me. I couldn’t believe they wouldn’t reach out to me, a one year member, find out what I was thinking, see if they could learn something to help them better serve members, and encourage me to continue my membership. (more…)
Are you ready to be obsessed with your customers?
Evolving marketing slogans, values, principles, mantras – whatever you want to call them – have driven significant improvements in customer service. Examples include “the customer is always right” and “we put our customers first.” Slogans like these have been adopted wildly as companies gradually recognized the need to meet, if not exceed, customer expectations. Oh, wait! There goes another! “We will meet, if not exceed, customer expectations.” As a result, customer relationships and customer experiences are now often considered to be as important, if not more important, than the product itself.
But time never stops and so the slogans continue to evolve. As each one becomes commonplace and ceases to stand out in the crowd, someone installs an upgrade. Amazon’s “Customer Obsession” is a case in point. It’s quite the attention getter. “Wow! Amazon is upping the ante on customer centric commitments!”
So what are you waiting for? Are you ready to declare your “Customer Obsession”? Or maybe you want to leapfrog the competition and be the first to claim “Lunatic Devotion.”
Before you do that, there are three things you need to think about when adopting a new approach. (more…)
There are 5.4 million job openings in the US right now. The unemployment rate is 5.3%, the lowest it has been since April 2008. That means competition for top talent is extremely high.
Meanwhile, the average hiring process has increased by 10 days in the last 5 years. 10 business days! Two weeks! And that’s the average! That means some have gained far more than two weeks.
If you are one of the companies with a slower hiring process, you probably “improved” your process by seeking more input, ensuring a consistent experience for all candidates, testing for anything from drugs to knowledge, documenting your decision more carefully. etc. And you may also have reduced the risk of a law suit from very small to tiny.
But 10 days! With competition for talent at what’s probably an all time high, you can not afford to be slow! Speed matters!
If your hiring process has gotten slower, I guarantee it is just the tip of the iceberg. What else is slower? (more…)
Am I the only one who falls asleep or gets distracted during phone menus? And then has to start over? Sometimes getting so messed up that I have to hang up, call back, and once again drill down seven layers in the hopes of finding a decent option or live human being?
I hate it!
Phone menus have gotten so long, have always been boring, are usually redundant, and are now inevitably dished out by a super professional voice – an ultra nice, pleasant, sleep-inducing voice!
I say cut the message by 90%, make it interesting, and hire the kid next door. Or better yet? Answer the phone!!!!
Under cover of darkness, “America’s Wine Superstore,” with 100 stores in 15 states and offering 8000 wines, 3000 spirits, and 2500 beers, quietly opened at a prime intersection just outside the city limits of a first ring Minneapolis suburb possessing 3 ho-hum municipal liquor stores.
Now, a mere 5 months later, “Edina blames Total Wine for falling revenue.” This headline in the Minneapolis Business Journal caught my eye because I lived in Edina a dozen years ago and know exactly how exciting those stores are.
- That store was not built overnight.
- It is not a tiny, unrecognizable threat.
- Furthermore, you got a huge reprieve when Total Wine lost a full year battling for a liquor permit.
Meanwhile, what did these stores do to prevent the revenue loss? Probably what many businesses do: (more…)
I booked a rental car for Budapest yesterday using a reputable online service. Several red flags led me to follow up with a phone call. I wasn’t sure I could cross international borders. I needed to know more about insurance; when I clicked on the fine print, I was asked in which state I was requesting extra insurance. Below the list of choices, I was warned that extra insurance was not available for Texas. What about Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and the Czech Republic???
The customer service rep was knowledgable and did her absolute best to find me a rental plan that fit my needs. And, of course, the minute I got off the phone, I received a survey asking about the service I received.
Wait! That’s it? All they care about is their customer service rep? They don’t care that I just wasted a couple of hours and don’t have a car I can drive to Poland because their online sales process is so inadequate? (more…)
He left me two phone messages. Probably a year or two after I called his company to ask questions about their product. So I returned his call. It’s the courteous thing to do.
I told him I no longer had any interest in the product. Couldn’t remember anything about it. Probably inquired on behalf of a client. Thank you and goodbye.
It should have been that easy, but I didn’t hang up fast enough. I guess I was still feeling courteous.
Once I gave him an opening, he broke a speed record for insulting, condescending, and passive-aggressive behavior:
- He told me what was best for me, even though he knew nothing about me.
- He used a derogatory description to categorize me with consultants who don’t see value in his product.
- He told me that if I had an open mind, I would want to hear more.
- He told me that since his company had just been acquired for big bucks, I obviously needed them.
And when I said goodbye for the last time, he said, “Thanks for having an open mind.”
Don’t be like this! Believe in the value you have to offer, but don’t try to cram it down someone’s throat while you make assumptions, judgments, and insults!
Here’s my formula:
- Offer to help
Too bad he hasn’t already sent the materials he promised to email. If I could tell you his name and company, you would know better than to return his call!