Please take a moment and cast your mind back to how many people and businesses used to talk about ideas and practices before becoming commonplace.
Can you remember a time when money-back guarantees were not that common? Before their widespread adoption, many brands and leaders resisted their introduction, fearing that if they put them in place, then that would lead to a torrent of their customers knocking on their front door asking for their money back.
Now, the idea that a large number of customers would come rushing to the front door looking for their money back on the introduction of a “money-back guarantee” is patently ridiculous. It assumes that customers are stupid and routinely make silly spending decisions. And, we know that this is simply not true.
Money-back guarantees, once introduced, held companies to higher standards and more consistent practices. In turn, they have also helped build trust in the minds of customers all over the world.
This is just one historical example of how an irrational fear, or as some would describe them False Expectations Appearing Real, held back the betterment of the customer’s experience.
The problem is that this is not an isolated incident.
In fact, it could be argued that the same situation arose before the widespread introduction of asking customers and employees for feedback. In both cases, many leaders feared that asking for feedback would unleash a tidal wave of abuse and negative feedback from customers and employees.
Again this is patently ridiculous and has not proved to be true. Asking for feedback from customers and employees has become one of the foundational elements in both customer and employee experience.
But, these fears do not just exist in the past. Some are very present in the here and now.
Here are a few examples of how irrational fears could be undermining both the customer and employee experience.
Making it easy for customers to complain
Things go wrong and sometimes badly. So, why do some companies make it hard for customers to complain? Is it because they fear that if they make the process easier and more visible, it will invite a massive increase in complaints, forcing them to confront some ugly truths and take part in some difficult conversations?
Making it easy for customers to call
Why do some companies make it hard for customers to call them or even find their phone number when they need help? Is it because they fear there will be a massive surge in phone calls from customers seeking help?
Allowing customers to easily cancel their subscriptions
Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot’s cofounder, has a great saying which goes: “We want to make it emotionally difficult for our customers to leave, but procedurally easy”. I think that is a great sentiment and one that every subscription-based business should aspire to. But, that’s not always the case. Why is that? Is it because they fear that if they made it easy to cancel, they would see a massive spike in cancellations that would undermine their economics, business plan, and bonuses?
Trusting employees to do a good job, particularly when they are working remotely
Many organizations use employee performance monitoring and analytics software to help them manage workloads and improve performance. And, that’s great. However, many others go much further and take a much more draconian approach whereby they track and monitor their employees to within an inch of their lives. With many workers working remotely, we have seen a spike in this behavior since the start of the pandemic. Is this because many organizations don’t trust their employees and fear that if they don’t keep a constant eye on them, they’ll mess about and won’t get their work done?
These are only four instances, and I am sure there are others. However, none of them stand up under scrutiny.
But, what they do is have an adverse effect on the customer and employee experience that organizations want to deliver.
These irrational fears exist. They impact our decision-making and undermine efforts to improve the customer and the employee experience.
It’s our job to become aware of them and root them out because they do not help us, our employees or our customers.
This post was originally published on Forbes here.