Following up the DirecTV service call that I blogged about this morning, there was some clear, obvious waste that could have been avoided through better training. It makes you wonder how many billions of dollars are wasted across the country each year because companies under-invest in training and because they can't connect the pieces of their organization.
I was having trouble with one TV after having to take some thing apart – after recabling everything, it didn't work. I thought I was careful in putting it back together the way it had been (I had even gotten out my 5S labeler to mark pieces). When I called if the phone agent had been able to give me correct info, DirecTV could have avoided a costly (to them, it was free to me) in-home tech appointment. It was completely avoidable.
On Friday, I had called DirecTV to get help and was told, leaving the acronyms and jargon out of it:
- Connect the wall to widget A
- Connect widget A to doodad B
- Connect doodad B to the receiver
Nothing worked, so they scheduled a service call. This would have been FAR more inconvenient if I hadn't been working from home, so I'm lucky there.
The tech arrived (as I had confirmed via phone) and came inside. He removed widget A from the equation and everything instantly worked fine. It took him all of 30 seconds. He pointed at widget A (pictured at left) and said “you don't need that anymore.”
I asked him why the phone agent had told me the wrong instructions and the tech sniffed, “Well they're just phone support, they never know anything.”
DirecTV had made some recent changes to their hardware to allow whole-home DVR networking (hence the installation of doodad B last week). But the original service tech had left widget A there, even though it wasn't needed. Eve with my anal-retentiveness, I managed to put it back together wrong.
Why is it that, it seems, the biggest companies are the worst at investing in training and in communicating change to their employees? That lack of training (and overcomplexity of their product?) squarely cost DirecTV money and hurts their bottom line.
But, I suspect the training budget for the call center is in Silo A and the cost of in-home techs is Silo B. The CEO and shareholders should be upset about the lack of coordination and the systemic waste in their overall process.
Siloed thinking. Short-term budget thinking… customers and shareholders suffer. Middle managers prosper, I assume. Go figure.
Final thought – it's not just big corporations. How often do hospitals put in new software and then underinvest in training (REALLY training) staff how to use it? How often is there a process change, yet people aren't properly informed?
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