Why being your own customer might be the best thing you can do for your business.

people sitting on white concrete stairs

My internet went out. Ugh! This meant calling my internet provider.

Reluctantly, I picked up my phone and made the call, and, of course, got the maze of “press 1 to see your account balance, press 2 to call your mom, press 3, blah, blah, blah.” Finally, I heard what I needed, “press 5 because you are experiencing an internet outage,” hooray!

I then went into a labyrinth of being asked to do a whole variety of tasks to determine the fundamental problem. Of course, me being a hater of automated service, I wanted to speak to a human who could understand nuance and listen to what I knew already—I had had an outage about a year earlier and had a good idea of where the problem might lie but I digress.

The big problem arose when, at the end of poking around and following directions, my “helpful” robot said that if the problem was still there, I could call back and get more help. I jumped at that opportunity.

I dialed back in, pressed 5 (it was the only option for internet outage) thinking the system would somehow know me and route things differently … and … got the same robotic waltz through the labyrinth of “problem solving” only to hear the robot telling me again that I could call back and get more help. It was a spinning wheel of doom with no way out.

To cut to the end of my tale of woe, I did finally get human help …but it was only after I began pressing 0 over and over.

Here’s the rub. Service should not be difficult for your customers. In fact, it should be easy—incredibly easy. And to ensure that, it should be experienced regularly by someone in the company. In my example however, it was apparent that no one had experienced it. No one had simply had to try and navigate through the system like I had to. If they had, no wheel of doom with no way out would have existed.

Lesson? If you want to make a big improvement in the service you provide your customers, go be your own customer. See what it is like to work with your company. Is it easy? Is it enjoyable? How much of a hassle is it to get what you want? How much effort do you have to expend to get problems resolved?

Once you’ve had that taste, fix things. Make it easy for your customer. Take away obstacles. Ensure there is a way out of your phone tree. Give people human options. BE. OF. SERVICE. That, by the way, is why you are in business.

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