TLS Continuum Part 80: Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell

This blog post does not refer to the former government policy regarding sexual orientation in the military. Rather this refers to a vital part of the TLS Continuum and the voice of the customer. We can’t improve our processes without the input from our customers. However it does no good for you to ask the customer what keeps them up at night if you are not going to follow through on resolving those concerns.

Let me give you an example. We recently had a problem with our 43inch TV and took it into the repair department of a big-box electronics store for repair. They called us after a couple of days and said it could not be fixed and under our protection agreement we only had to go to the store and pick up a replacement. I went into the store and went up to the repair desk. The associate told me he had to print out a form to complete the replacement. He proceeded to wait on another customer before he got around to printing the paperwork. He then walked me over to the return desk and we started the whole process over again. The return desk could not find the paperwork in his computer. I informed him that the repair desk had found the paperwork and he said that their computer systems were not linked. He finally had to call over his manager who finally figured out how to pull up the replacement order. To top off the situation I was then referred to the In-store Pick up Desk who again took several minutes to find the paperwork. For being able to just go into the store show my ID and walk out with the new TV took over an hour.

To add to the injury if you will several weeks ago we went into the same store to pay a bill and their check clearing company refused to accept my check because they claimed that I had never used that account to pay a bill in the past even though we had used it the month before. Sot personnel were of no help.

I have explained these scenarios because at each register is an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper with the following message:

Dear Valued Customer:

My name is ­­­______________: I am the general manager of your _________store. Thank you for choosing ____________ we sincerely appreciate your patronage and certainly hope you will recommend us to your family and friends.

Our intention is to provide you with an exceptional shopping experience in-store and online. My store associates do not work on commission, but sincerely appreciate recognition from our customers. We are always seeking new ways to improve customer service, and the best way to do that is to ask the experts-our customers.

Again, thank you for your business, If I can be of any further assistance, or answer any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me

 I have left several voice mails for him with no reply. So then it suggests to me that while he professes to be engaged with customer service, he does not want to hear about the customer service issues. If the essence of continuous process improvement is the voice of the customer and you do not intend to live up to that belief. The why ask if you don’t want to her the answer. The indication that we have a problem is in the eyes of the customer. They are the ones that tell us whether we are meeting the needs that they came to us for. If we don’t meet those needs we will lose the customer. If we have no interest in hearing the problems they are experiencing then why waste their time and yours by pretending to want to know when there is a problem.

Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. assists organization’s with the creation of empowered change strategies which are customer centric, organizationally aligned and quality based in your organization.


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