Ahhh the plight of the customer service department… the poor souls relegated to handling the angry customers. The sacrificial lambs asked to steel themselves against the onslaught of anger and dismay, only to hang up or close their email to be alerted to the next angry customer… on repeat.
In many companies, the executives shield themselves from this group. They don’t want to get their hands dirty, and roll up their sleeves to confront reality, so they let these amazing people suffer in silence so the executives can be free to do the ‘important’ work like strategy, and marketing, and execution, and sales, and and and…
We all know it. We deal with these companies every single day! It is front page news the last few weeks how American Airlines is systematically, and intentionally hiding from customers!! As an Executive Platinum flyer, I have experienced it many times. A rant for another day but they identified me as their “best customer”, gave me a title, and then built a system to avoid me at all costs… baffling!
But American is hardly alone… it is a mainstay of corporate culture to hide from customers. It has become, sadly, our expectation. But it doesn’t have to be that way, at least in my opinion. I actually believe, in the vast majority of companies, there are only 7 or 8 things customers complain about. Often in a variety of language, and circumstances, but at the core they are pretty similar. Think about the hotel business… rude staff, dirty room, lost reservation, dumb policies about cancelled reservations, can’t get late checkout, a handful of other things, but it isn’t rocket science. What is even more fascinating to me, it is the SAME complaints, over and over again.
For the last 3 months, I have been wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor, to try and get a better handle on how I react to different foods. I am healthy but I love data, and it has been super helpful to watch my trends. And it is expensive… I mean really expensive. I am up for renewal in 10 days, but I am not renewing… and why you might ask?!
Well, the problem with Nutrisense, is they use Freestyle Libre CGM devices, which expire in 14 days. So when you start on the program, they send 2 devices. But the app and the program is monthly. So much to my dismay, after getting me totally hooked on the product in the first 28 days, I didn’t realize it but there was a gap in my coverage and I went 3 days without the device. A device that measures blood sugar every 15 minutes, and that you have to scan at least every 8 hours, and I was often scanning 10-15 times a day.
So here is a company that gets me totally all in on the product, so much so that for 28 days I am interacting with their product 10-15+ EVERY SINGLE DAY… I am fanatical about it. And then they pull the football away and it takes 3 days to get a new device…
When I realized the gap, I reached out to try and expedite. The response? “Oh yeah you have to move up your billing date if you want continuous coverage or buy a $100 spare so you don’t have a gap.”
That would have been super helpful at any point during the first 28 days. They actually assign you a coach to make sure you are using the product, and never a mention. Ever.
I cannot be the only one with this complaint… it is happening every. Single. Damn. Day. The response when I asked if other people had the same complaint? “Oh yeah, all the time”.
There is gold in that complaint. They are dropping the ball at the moment of highest engagement. Over something so dumb. So DUMB!!!!
So my challenge to you is to do what Steve Jobs did, and Sanjeev Mohanty at Levi Strauss, and countless other leaders have done, study the complaints like tea leaves. Find the moments where you are dropping the ball right at the goal line… and find solutions where you can. Had Nutrisense been paying attention, there is no chance that I would have had a gap in my coverage. The tea leaves in the complaints would have exposed the problem long ago, and it is a simple one to fix.
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