Once again, Seth Godin intersects with the concepts of the book Lean Solutions: How Companies and Customers Can Create Value and Wealth Together.
Seth writes about the Lean Solutions principle of not wasting the customer's time. He also has some interesting ideas about treating customers as source of revenue (thinking of creating value) instead of viewing them as a cost. He complains about Verizon (a pretty easy target, as are the other phone companies):
If you view calls from paying customers as expensive, then your goal will be to cut the cost of these interactions. That means fewer hours, more voice recognition and more wasted time by your customers. Once you've gone down that road, everything else seems like a soft-hearted, expensive compromise.
So, I start by flipping this on its head. Verizon spends a fortune on advertising and outbound marketing. How much of that budget would they have to allocate/invest in order to turn their customer service into a discussion-worthy best in the world? Or at least enough to keep people from switching in disgust? Not much, it turns out.
This leads quite easily to the first conceptual breakthrough: waste your time, not mine! Be open 24 hours a day, because, after all, the amount of customer service you need to do doesn't decrease if you work fewer hours. In other words, spread your people around so they can talk when your customers want to talk.
Seth's known as a “marketing guru” but he's also pretty sharp, operationally. Check out his post. He also touched on a favorite pet peeve of mine – repeating information that you just typed into a phone keypad:
It means that you don't ask me to type in my phone number or account number, but if you insist, then at the very least you make sure that the person who eventually gets my call doesn't ask me for my number again! Getting this wrong for three years in a row is not an error. It's arrogance.
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