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No Customer Problem is Unimportant or Unfixable

Peter Leppik | Aug 14, 2015 73 views 1 Comment

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In a couple of my clients, I've noticed an uncommon attitude towards the customer experience.

Where most companies often push back on trying to solve customer problems, these unusual companies take the opposite approach. They assume that No customer problem is unimportant or unfixable.

Compare that to the litany of reasons most companies give for not fixing their customer experience problems:

  • "Only a few customers are complaining about that."
  • "It would be very expensive to provide that level of service."
  • "That would require major investment of IT resources."
  • "That customer is just trying to get something for free."
  • "If we did that our customers would scam us."
  • "The way we're doing it now is better."
  • "You can't please every customer all the time."

What makes these excuses so insidious is that they are, very occasionally true. Some problems really do arise from freak circumstances (but usually if one customer complains, there are many others who have the same problem and aren't complaining). Sometimes systems are so big and outdated that it would be uneconomical to fix them (but at some point they will have to be replaced, and next time around you shouldn't let your systems get so far behind the curve). Some customers really are trying to scam you (but the overwhelming majority of customers are honest). And it is true that some customers will never be satisfied no matter what you do, but those customers are very rare.

Often one (or more) of those reasons is trotted out as a way to avoid taking a serious look at fixing some issue with the customer experience:



"What are we going to do about the complaints about how we verify customers' identities over the phone?"

"Only a few customers are complaining about that. Plus, if we changed the authentication then people would scam us."

"Oh, then I guess we shouldn't change that."

But if you take the attitude that No customer problem is unimportant or unfixable, then the conversation becomes completely different:

"What are we going to do about the complaints about how we verify customers' identities over the phone?"

"Only a few customers are complaining about that. Plus, if we changed the authentication then people would scam us."

"You might be right. But No customer problem is unimportant or unfixable, and this is definitely important enough to some of our customers that they took the time to complain. So we should at least explore some options and see if there's a better way to do things."

This attitude, that No customer problem is unimportant or unfixable, can dramatically shift a culture towards being customer-centric, especially when it comes straight from the top.

It's not an easy change, because it directly attacks the deep resistance to change in many organizations. But try making this your catch-phrase and see how it changes the discussion.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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One Response to No Customer Problem is Unimportant or Unfixable

  1. Graham Hill August 15, 2015 at 4:45 am (992 comments) #

    Hi Peter

    Not All Customers Are Equal

    No customer problem may be unimportant or unfixable is nice as a consultant mantra, but in the real business world of too much stuff to do and not enough time to do it in, not all customers are equal… some are more equal than others.

    Managers would be well advised to focus their limited attention on these more equal customers – the ones that are the most profitable, the ones that are the most loyal, the ones that are the most advocating – than the rest. And there are some customers they shouldn’t waste too much time on at all – the ones that are deeply unprofitable, the ones that only buy from your once, and the ones ones that spend all their and your time clogging up Customer Service with unreasonable requests. Anyone who has ever run Customer Services will know exactly who I am talking about.

    Mantras may be fine for consultants promoting the ‘next big thing’, but real business is all about difficult trade-offs and choices. The two are worlds apart.

    Graham Hill
    @grahamhill

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