Would You Do That to Your Mother?
April 24, 2019 - Greenwich CT Jeanne Bliss has written another fantastic book "Would You Do That to Your Mother?" It is a humorous and fast paced analysis of what is right and what is wrong with how many businesses treat their customers. It is a crisp message for companies who are overly focused on rules, procedures and compliance and fail to fully consider the perspective of their customers.

What if your customer were your mother? Would you treat her the way you treat your customers now?

The challenge is that consumers are getting accustumed to the excellent standard being set by companies like Amazon, Apple, Starbucks, Salesforce, Zappos, Warby Parker, Nordstroms and Netflix. The service delivered by many other companies can look shabby by comparison. And it is not just consumer businesses. The B2B world is 'consumerizing' rapidly for the same reasons.

Here are some examples of things your wouldn't do to your mother:
  • Block her from changing airlines in order to be able to catch a new flight to get her to an important meeting on time.
  • Ask her for the same information three times on the same call with three different customer agents.
  • Make it very easy to subscribe to a service and then very difficult to unsubscribe.
  • Sell a club membership that saves members money, but assumes she will rarely use the service.
  • Send an electric bill that is so complicated only a math major can figure it out.

Here are examples of things companies do when they are treating their customers as if they were a beloved family member:
  • Greet hotel guests by their name as they arrive at the front desk.
  • Empower customer service agents to solve customer problems without checking with a supervisor.
  • Redesign waiting rooms with kiosks so hosts can do stand-up face-to-face greetings.
  • Design customer systems so that individual data and preferences are known at all touch points.
  • Allow purchases on-line to be returned in-store and vice versa.
  • Provide consulting services to help customers better succeed with a product or service.

Jeanne presents great examples of products and services that have been successfully reinvented from the customer's perspective:

  • There is the story about the Mayfair Diagnostics Clinic that has redesigned the waiting room. Forms are sent ahead of time by email and reception is an open kiosk that allows a host to greet patients standing up to ask them how they are feeling.
  • There is the story of Alaska Airlines that trains its staff on "rescuing customers" and empowers them to make decisions on behalf of their travelers without seeking permission from supervisors.
  • There is Warby Parker's seamless management of customers whether they are on-line buyer or in-store buyers and with a "no questions asked" return policy.

Delivering this kind of level of customer service can be complex and expensive, but there are multiple examples of companies using outstanding customer service to drive loyalty, referrals, revenue and profit growth.

If you are looking for inspiration on new ways of thinking about serving customers, this is a fun and insightful perspective.
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