November 20, 2011
Don’t worry. I’m not expecting you to answer. It’s a rhetorical question — and I’m only putting it out there because ‘customer experience’ is being bandied about quite a bit these days (including by yours truly); and, when I think about my own customer experiences I automatically think about whether or not they deliver what I’m looking for.
And I’m not just referring to the quality of customer service that comes with those relationships — which is where you might think I’m headed. What I’m talking about is a much bigger, more challenging issue — and I alluded to it in my last post. What I’m talking about are sellers and providers of anything and everything, who base their offerings on customers’ needs and preferences — not simply their own — individuals who also think, not only of benefitting themselves and the companies and organizations they work for, but society in general.
That’s what I want.
It’s a tall order, I know, but I truly believe it is the only way we’ll succeed — or even survive — going forward. Regardless of whether you’re employed in the public or private sector.
So now let’s get more specific about some of the things I think about when I should probably be working on my latest project, my filing (which I loathe doing and is, therefore, piling up on every available surface), or even worse — laundry:
Neither the manager or staff at the grocery store where I do a lot of my shopping have ever asked me what I want (even when I’m wandering up and down the aisles looking confused because I don’t know where they’ve moved the crackers) — so I’m going to take this opportunity to tell them.
I would love to know how much food they throw away every week. I ask because the food banks — and thank God for them — can’t accommodate perishable items. So wouldn’t it be great if a large, warehouse type space was made available — it was outfitted with some refrigerated units (also donated) — and instead of throwing perfectly good food away, it was given to those people who currently depend on the food banks, and are currently able to eat only the staples that come in cans, tins and cartons. It wouldn’t replace the food banks — it would just enhance what they could offer.
What are you willing to bet that if I went to the head office of any grocery store operating in this country with this idea I’d get at least 5 reasons why it can’t be done. And I’ll bet you that if they assembled a diverse group of people who could have a role in this initiative — and if they were prepared to dig deep and think differently — we could find a way to execute at least something close to this idea.
This is something I want. It would make me feel better about the food I am buying. It would make me feel better about the grocery store where I shop. It would make me feel better knowing all this food wasn’t going to waste. And it would make me feel a lot better about what the less fortunate members of our society are eating, and what a positive effect it could have on other aspects of their lives.
Let’s move on. Now I’d like to tell my bank what I’d like. Relax — you don’t have to send the kids out of the room. There’ll be no swearing. It’s a simple, little request actually:
Have you ever wondered why, as long as you don’t exceed your credit limit, you are free to charge whatever you’d like to your credit card? Well … I’d prefer to do that with my debit card. If I have enough money in my account to pay for a $5,000 holiday with my debit card — cash, in other words — my cash — why can’t I? Wouldn’t you think that whatever means banks use to ‘approve’ your credit card purchases while you’re standing at a cash register, should be transferable to debit card purchases. So why isn’t it? Is it merely that they’ve never thought about it themselves. Is it because they’ve never asked their customers what they want?
Could it be that they (bank honchos) prefer it when — human nature being what it is — even though you told yourself you’d pay your credit card off as soon as you get the bill, you don’t — and they get to charge you interest? But isn’t that short term thinking? If you weren’t drowning in credit card debt, you’d potentially have more money — to invest (with them). For a mortgage (with them). For a bigger mortgage (with them). You’d be more credit-worthy (which you’d think they’d like). They wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not you might, one day, lose your job and be unable to pay off your credit card debt — leaving them holding the bag.
There’s a lot more on my mind, but I think I’ve done enough talking for a while. What are some of the things you want?
Filed under customer experience.