I don’t know very many people who enjoy waiting on anything. It’s not that everyone is impatient. It’s just frustrating to have to waste time standing in line, being put on hold, or waiting for a response from anyone. How about showing up on time for lunch with a friend, only to have that friend show up twenty minutes late? You may cut a friend some slack, but you will surely be upset or angry with the company that makes you wait an extra twenty minutes.
Not long ago I was forced to stay in a hotel because my flight was canceled due to bad weather. I showed up late in the evening and couldn’t believe how long the line was to check into the hotel. Their excuse was that they didn’t expect the hotel to be so busy. Yet, according to the reservations person I talked with earlier that day, the hotel was just about sold out sold out of rooms. How could they not have known? I blame a manager for making a bad staffing decision. That moment eroded the hotel’s guest focused brand and image that they worked so hard to create through advertising and marketing.
Don’t you just hate when you call a company for help or support and you get the recording that goes something like this: “We’re sorry. Due to unexpected call volume you may experience longer than normal wait times.” I hate when this happens.
I’m sensing a pattern. Don’t these companies respect our time?
Customers are turning to alternative ways of doing business because of speed. Usually it is much faster to order something online. Self-service checkout in a grocery store may be a good alternative to save a few minutes. Even when it comes to customer service, customers turn to an online alternative rather than having to make a call and be put on hold, be transferred to numerous people and have to repeat their story to multiple employees.
Amazon.com gets it. Once you understand their system, you can find what you want and check out with “one click.” Their Amazon Prime Membership, for which customers pay an annual fee, offers free two-day shipping on most purchases. It’s all about speed and convenience. Their customers love it, and are willing to pay for it.
Some companies offer various levels of support. Pay more and you may get a special number that gets you to someone faster. Or just do more business to earn that perk. While I’m not so sure that may be the best strategy, here is the type of response I think you want from your customers:
The company may not be the lowest priced, but they are fairly priced and I’m willing to pay a little more for the value they deliver. I love that my questions are answered and problems resolved without having to wait.
Here’s the point: Value my time and you value me. It’s part of delivering amazing service.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXIV, Shep Hyken)