Make Sure You Consider People’s Schedules, Not Just Your Own

Posted on by in Business, Customer Service, Planning, Remarkability

Sears blew it with me big time this morning.  My wife has been asking for a new stove for some time and I finally agreed.  So we settled on a Kenmore glass top stove (no more cleaning burner elements).  When she ordered it the other day, the Sears person scheduled it for this Wednesday.  Wednesday?  A whole day?  Fed Ex can deliver a package anywhere in the country by x time, but Sears can’t tell us when our stove will arrive?  Amazing.

So, this morning, I called the 1-800 number I was given to call to confirm the "two hour window" for delivery.  But when i called, I was told that I needed to call after 6:00 p.m. today to get the two hour window for tomorrow’s delivery.  Hey, has any Sears Executive ever had a stove delivered to their house?  If you have to wait until after 6:00 p.m., it’s rather hard to schedule anything for the next day since MOST PEOPLE HAVE GONE HOME FROM WORK!  I’m still in shock.  How could anyone design such an archaic system?

But here’s the clincher.  In this experience economy that you and I live in, the last experience we have is the one that lives with us.  So, what do you think the probability is that I’m going to go to Sears again for an item that needs to be delivered? Who designed this system?  It’s all wrong.  Sears ought to convene a meeting and get some logistics people from UPS or Fed Ex or Wal-Mart etc. and fix this system.

In a customer experience centric company, the question wouldn’t be, "What works for us?" the question would be, "How can we provide an incredible/remarkable/wow experience for our customers—from the moment they enter the store all the way through until the time they get the product delivered and installed." It doesn’t matter how great the product is.  If a customer has a bad experience with the service part of the relationship, they’re gone (along with all of their future purchases!!!).

Now, why would Sears want to wait until the evening before, after 6:00 p.m., to decide on the delivery schedule?  Because it’s the easiest system for them to work.  It’s all about them.  Not us as customers! How much better it would have been if when my wife bought the stove, the computer system actually gave her the two hour window at that moment.  Or to take it up a notch, how much better if they had asked, "When would you like it delivered?" Or to kick it up another notch,what if they would supply the option of evening delivery so that someone didn’t have to take off work or work from home or reschedule appointments/meetings! Now, that would be remarkable!

Sears didn’t do any of those things—which is why my experience with them is unremarkable (in a positive way—since I’m obviously remarking about it in a negative way!).  So, as you look at how you provide experiences/service for your customers/clients/employees/church members etc. how often do you look at the relationship through your own eyes as to what’s convenient for you vs. what would be a remarkable experience for your customers/clients/employees/church members?

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2 Responses to “Make Sure You Consider People’s Schedules, Not Just Your Own”

  1. Malcolm Munro 2 November 2005 at 5:12 am #

    Poor customer service will continue in an organization that is successful in spite of itself. Take a look at the U.S. Postal Service if you want an example of how the threat of outsourcing turned an organization’s customer service policy around. I now use USPS exclusively for shipping my books and products as it’s totally convenient to do most features online – very customer service friendly! As for Sears, we probably won’t see any change in the customer service until the threat of closure sends them into that direction. But you have to ask: why wait for a crisis to change such a vital policy?
    Malcolm Munro

  2. david Brower 4 November 2005 at 7:54 am #

    Hey Bruce, I can one up that. I called Sears three weeks ago to come fix our brand new dryer. The door handle was broken off from over use (poor wife, we got 4 kids and we do 3 loads of laundry a day). So I tell them on the phone that it’s working fine, but the door handle needs to be replaced. Not only did I experience the same idiotic system that requires you to be home all day (and they missed the window by two hours) — you guessed it, the tech showed up without a door handle. What the bleep! That would have been funny if it wasn’t my door handle. If that wasn’t stupid enough, the rest of the story is. Sears ordered me a door handle b/c the tech told them too (not because the customer told them a week earlier) and then rescheduled me for another appt. All was good until the day of the next appt. Yeah, that day I sat around and played internet poker waiting for the tech to show up. I got a call from Sears asking if the door handle had been delivered yet. I said, “WHAT?” They ordered the part and had it delivered to my house. Only thing was that it never came. So Sears said they were going to have to reschedule my appt. again. But here’s the ultimate kicker – they asked ME to call THEM when the door handle arrived. Hello, you mean you want me to do your job too? Next thing you know, they’re going to ask me to take a $4 phillips head screwdriver and 60 seconds of my time and 2 screws later install my own door handle. I could, but HELL NO! Come back out and waste another half day of my life!

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