Why, you are asking yourself, would any company have a Business Prevention Department? I bet in a few seconds you can come up with several companies that practice first-class business prevention — companies that have the department fully staffed by employees who are turning away business in droves.
Signs of a Business Prevention Department Infestation
Here are some signs that you might be dealing with such a company:
- You call and leave a message but they don’t call you back……ever.
- The automated phone menu asks you to press keys for address, social security number, and account ID — then requests it again when you connect with the live representative.
- You ask them to send you something and you never receive it. The process of crediting you for the missing order is unwieldy and you have to follow up several times.
- They answer their phone and sound exasperated that you are calling and interrupting them, give you cursory, monosyllabic answers, and operate at a default level of the eighth dwarf in the story of Snow White, Surly.
- You visit their business and you can’t find anyone to help you. Crickets. You can hear someone whistling, far off in the back.
- You visit their business and — the sole customer in the store — you stand at the counter for 10 minutes waiting for the clerk to finish a personal call. The call continues and you finally walk out without any objection from the clerk.
- Within earshot of customers, visitors, and other employees, you hear the staff complaining about their bosses, their salaries, their co-workers, and other customers.
When You Fear for Your Own Organization…
When you’re the customer and these things happen, my advice to you is to pass them by. There are probably many other companies that offer similar products and services. Reward those companies with your business instead of the ones with poor practices caring for customers.
Do you suspect that your company might have a Business Prevention Department infestation? It’s time to eliminate it quickly.Take a walk in your customers’ shoes:
- What happens when your call your own company on the phone? Are the operators congenial? Can you reach help quickly? Is your problem handled promptly and with a thank you at the end?
- What happens when you contact customer service on the website? Do they respond? Are they there for a chat when the site says they should be there? Do you hear back quickly with a well-written email?
- When you walk into the building with a purpose in mind, is there a logical path to find your way around? Can you easily get the information you need about navigating the building and departments? Is the signage helpful and complete?
- Can you and others navigate your website to find something specific? Invite friends and family to test the systems.
- What happens when you call about a problem of any kind? Is the path to satisfactory service and support without pitfalls and quicksand?
What To Do When You Confirm Your Fears
If you have difficulty with any of these activities, chances are your customers, or should I say “former customers waiting to happen” are having the same challenges as you. In this case, your own Business Prevention Department is doing a bang-up job.
According to a survey by Bain & Company, 80% of companies surveyed believe they deliver a superior customer experience. But only 8% of their customers agree. Those numbers just don’t add up, and it’s a recipe for disaster. If you think you’re doing a great job taking care of your customers but your customers think otherwise, they won’t be your customers for very long.
Eliminating departments can lead to poor customer service, but in this case, the opposite is true. Some of the most notable business change is driven by what you discover from experiencing your own brand through a customer’s eyes. Eliminating the Business Prevention Department will improve customer service in your company. Try it and let me know how you make out!
Randi Busse is a customer service speaker, trainer, and author. Her company, Workforce Development Group, Inc. offers customized training, workshops, and presentations to help you improve service and create a culture of ownership among employees.