Some Customers Never Learn


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“Your feedback is important to us.”  Sometimes those are just words.  And some Customers are suckers and will fall for it.

A while back, I had some work done with a service provider and, to say the least, the experience was not up to snuff whatsoever.  This was a luxury brand and as such I’d expected some pretty fantastic attention to detail, and to me as the Customer.

Our service lead was gracious and helpful…well, as helpful as he could be:  The organization’s systems and processes were very much not conducive to this poor fellow being able to deliver the sort of experience even he’d have preferred.  He was trying mightily and even seemed a bit apologetic about how he’d prefer to do this or that for me, would like to help me out with this or the other, but simply wasn’t able to.  In some instances, what I wanted was available, but he didn’t have the authority to deliver it.  It was the classic lack of Enablement and Empowerment  that I see far too often with far too many brands.

But the feedback was the saddest part of the experience for me.

As a CX guy, I’m always willing to offer feedback.  I’ve stated before how we can be the best or the worst when it comes to being Customers ourselves, and one way in which we sometimes wear out our welcome is in providing feedback.  What’s worse is, often the same sort of culture that doesn’t enable and empower team members to take care of their Customers is the same one that doesn’t really care much about hearing back from us.

I was sympathetic with my service lead and commiserated a bit even.  I encouraged him and told him that he’s doing a good job and I don’t blame him for the struggles we were having.  On the other hand, I asked him if he’d mind passing on a few thoughts to his boss, the director of the service group, and even invited him to contact me directly.  I left him with a copy of my book to pass on, and sent his boss a LinkedIn connection request.  I knew not everybody uses LinkedIn as obsessively as I do—and I saw his boss was one of those with just a handful of connections, so figured he’s likely in that category—and so I made it explicit to please ask his boss to contact me.

Now, I’m not an egomaniac.  I wasn’t pounding my fist and demanding anything or asking the rhetorical question of whether or not he knew who I am.  But when a Customer has a negative experience and says he’d like to hear from someone’s boss, you’d think he’d hear from someone’s boss.  I even inquired on a follow-up of my service lead if he’d passed along my entreaty to his supervisor and he said that he had (I have no reason to think he was lying about that).

But here’s the thing:  I never heard back.

Well, not exactly never…The team lead reached out to me a few days later and let me know that I may be receiving a survey to offer feedback and would I please fill it out?  Now, again, you know that I love offering feedback, but my heart kind of went out to this guy.

I wrote him back, and somewhat bluntly said, Y’know what?  I’m not likely to fill out a form.  When it comes to feedback, I’ve already pretty much done a lot of work here with outreach to your boss.  That he’s still not made any sort of effort to reach out to me and/or hear my feedback proves to me that he’s not all that interested in receiving feedback.  But that a survey is imminent tells me that it’s most likely that the number on the survey is really all he cares about.  And I’ve got to tell you, that top-line number won’t be pretty.  As I’ve seen in my experiences, too, that bad top-line number is only going to hurt you, and I don’t think that’d be fair.  If somehow I figured there’d be action that came out of my feedback, it may be worth the ding you’d take personally, but given I’m pretty convinced that won’t be the case, it doesn’t serve just to give you a bad mark.

Customers spend a lot of time filling out surveys (especially if they’re mad) and providing feedback.  But if it goes into a huge hole in the ground and nobody does anything with it, why should they bother?  Some Customers never learn, do they?  Why should they bother being the only ones working on your CX?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Nicholas Zeisler, CCXP, LSSBB
I’m a Customer Experience executive, certified Process Improvement professional, Agile Scrum Master, dynamic educator, change management strategist, and in-demand business and leadership coach. I've worked from the inside and from the outside; in organizations large and small; public sector and private; from oil and gas to technology to non-profit (with lots in between too). I've seen a lot, but I haven't seen it all.


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