Lack of Transparancy Impacts both Customers and Employees

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Recently I upgraded my cell phone. It seemed like a simple enough process — until it was time to have the phone delivered.

After a positive telephone experience with the representative who placed the order, I was told the new phone would be delivered usually within 3 – 5 business days.

On day 5 I decided to follow up and find out what was happening since I was going to out of town for a couple days. The adventures began.

When I called my service provider to find out the status , they indicated that the product had been back-ordered and was just now back in stock – but they did not know when it was to be delievered. They offered me a number where I could tracking the order.

So I called this number — where they informed that; 1) the phone had not been shipped and, 2) there was a problem with the order so they couldn’t tell me when it was shipped.

When I inquired about the problem with the order, they indicated it was a technical issue on their end and they were working on it. Apparently a number of orders did not get process correctly and they were working to fix the “glitch”.

I indicated that while I was certainly sympathetic to their technical issues, I was more interested in when my order would be shipped now that they had identified that there was a problem. They indicated that they were working on the technical issue.

As you might guess I asked to speak to someone else — a Supervisor perhaps? This person confirmed the fact that there was a technical issue, but also indicated that they had identified which orders were affected and that they were hand packaging these orders and they should be out within a couple days. They suggested that I call back after 3 days if I had still not received my phone.

My Perspective: This lack of transparency left me feeling unloved and unappreciated as a customer.

This organization could have saved both money and customer goodwill by simply being proactive and sending a message to me informing me of the issue. After all, they certainly had my email address — I was one of their customers.

Instead they stuck their head in the sand and tried to hide the problem.

Even if only a small per cent of customers called with enquiries, an email to all affected customers would have avoided the phone calls and the resultant cost. They clearly anticipated the calls since the CSR’s were given the update — but the CSR’s were not given enough detail to actually provide a clear answer.

One of the key drivers of customer loyalty is transparency. The feeling that you understand what is going on and can trust the company to treat you fairly. When you hide the truth — you lose credibility and customer trust. An easy first step to losing the customer.

Possibly more important, it sends a clear signal to your employees about how you will treat them as employees. Neither situation bodes well for a high performing organization

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