Are you leaving customers in the dark?

Imagine you are visiting a friend in another city.  You’re walking with them late at night and they say they know a shortcut back to your hotel.  As you follow them, they start down a very dark alleyway.  How do you feel?  Although you may trust them, do you feel a little uneasy, maybe even a little scared?

While this scenario is only imaginary, it happens in businesses every day, and it happens to customers.  Think about the number of times when you’re a customer and you’ve called a help desk and they’ve told you to send in an item to be repaired or to fill out a form and then not told you what’s going to happen next or what you can expect.  How about the times when you’re told that someone will be coming to your house between 10 and 3 to repair your cable TV or fix your dryer?  All of these are the service equivalent of a dark alleyway and they produce stress and anxiety.

Simply put, the most primitive parts of our brains like certainty, they like to know what’s coming next, what’s around the corner.  When left to figure it out, this part of us typically conjures up the worst, and this “worst” can cause anxiety and even anger.  Think about it, you’ve been told the repair person will be there between 10 and 3 and at 2:45 you’re peeved because you just “know” the cable company is evil and out to get their customers, namely, you!  This part of our brains is pretty selfish and will think up all kinds of reasons why you’re right and everybody else is wrong, especially the cable company.

Now this isn’t new, this is a basic part of our human condition that neuroscience has known for quite a while, and it’s surprising that, in our information obsessed 21st century, it’s still not considered in the customer experience of so many companies. One company though who has done a lot to consider it is Safelite, you know, the folks who come to your house and replace a cracked windshield on your car.  Whether they knew the brain science or not, they’ve made the customer journey clear by creating a video that’s available on their app that shows how the entire process works.  Simple solution, customer anxiety mitigated with the dark alley lit and safe.

So, what can you do in your business to provide your customers more certainty?  What can you do to assure them and help them know what to expect and to give them more definites, especially with respect to time?  Customers are not in service of business, business is in service of customers and the ones who know this are the ones who thrive.  Are you a thriver who provides information and detail or are you stuck in a past that holds customers hostage to the dark alleyway of ignorance? If it’s the latter, it’s time to move forward.

One thought on “Are you leaving customers in the dark?

  1. My years in the hotel biz and of course the White House taught me a ton about making the customer service experience special. Follow-up, follow-up and often is my motto. Keeping meticulous schedules and reminders of commitments and if it has been awhile since you set a meeting call the client the day before to assure them you’ll be there – and early – to take care of their needs!

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