The Intolerant Customer (part2): A wake up call for business


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Poor service delivery requires an increase in customer effort to avail it; and today’s customer is in no mood to put in that extra effort.

A friend narrated a rather unpleasant service experience he had the other day. He was unable to understand what the service rep was trying to explain to him and the service rep was doing a poor job in expressing himself. Besides the incompetence of the service rep, his own intolerance compounded the unpleasantness further. At the end of it all, he partially blamed his intolerance for the unpleasant experience, while ofcourse the service rep could have done better.

His experience raises two pertinent questions from a customer perspective:
Does a customer need a better understanding on how to get requirements met, which could help in improving service quality.
Can more tolerance by the customer result in a better service experience?
Both thoughts are laden with good intentions. However, in both scenarios, the onus of exemplary service is lifted from the shoulders of the business and placed on the customer. That is not what the customer pays for. The effort to provide a good service experience is solely the responsibility of the business.

Customer Leniency is Detrimental to Service:
Good service requires the customer to put in only a minimal effort to receive service (and that is why the Customer Effort score is also a measure for good service). The increase in effort for the customer is a clear indication of inadequacies within the business. The customer, on the other hand, does not communicate this effort to the company. A leniency by the customer, which is one of the prime reasons for complacent service.

The more the customer tolerates the worse the service gets. It is a vortex, pulling service into an abyss that only something as drastic as the customer’s intolerance can help to salvage.

Complacency is Disrespect:
Bad service is a reflection of complacency within the business.
Complacency is a sign of being disrespectful to the customer.
Continuing business with such a company is a bad choice.

Leave Companies with Bad Service:
A business with poor service needs a wake up call. One that hits the place that hurts the most – the wallet. Businesses need to feel the loss in revenue caused by the exodus of the customer, and a financial strain created by ballooning costs of acquiring new ones to compensate that loss.

Customer churn is a great alarm bell for a business that delivers bad service.

So, if not for themselves, the customer must do the company a favour – Leave.

Intolerance – Tips:
Tip to the business: It is the customer’s complacency that gives you the audacity to continue providing sub-standard service. Pre-empt their intolerance.

Tip to the customer: If you eat the gruel they dish out, why would they serve you steak?

You are the customer. Be Intolerant!

Sunil Panikker
Sunil Panikker is a business consultant specializing in customer service, operations and business strategy. He has honed his expertise over 30 years of experience, working in senior management positions, with companies having global footprints, and responsibilities that have been cross-functional & multi-locational. His blog shares the experience and expertise assimilated from managing customer experience across multiple diverse industries.


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