In a nutshell:
Customers become dis-satisfied because they feel that that they have been dropped “like hot potatoes” by sales people once the sale is complete. Seamless service is about having in place processes to create smooth handovers from sales to other departments. It’s easy to do – and yet companies around the world seem to overlook this simple, but important detail.
You are in the market for a new car. You decide on a make and model. You spend a few weekends going to different car dealerships.
A sales person at one of the dealerships stands out. You connect with this person immediately. She makes you feel special. She listens to you. She makes it easy for you to get to know the features of the car. She becomes like a friend as you get closer and closer to signing on the dotted line to seal the deal. You trust this person.
And then, you make the decision.
You do the deal.
You have warm, happy feelings, with the aroma of new leather wafting through your nostrils, as you drive your new car onto the road. The sales person bids you a fond farewell.
One month down the track, you think that you hear a “knocking sound” coming from the front left wheel. You get worried. You call the sales person. No answer.
You call again. Eventually, after your third attempt, the sales person picks up the call.
“Hi! Remember me?” you say in a tone of voice that is reserved for old friends meeting each other again.
“Sure I remember you!” is the enthusiastic reply.
You explain the problem.
The sales lady then says, “Okay, this is a service issue. Here is the number of our service department. They can get pretty busy, so I suggest you make a time in advance to come in.”
At that moment, your heart sinks. You don’t quite know why.
When you come to think about it, you feel abandoned. You have gone from being an important sales prospect to being customer who is a nobody.
Let’s rewind this story…
You have just done the deal, and are eagerly looking forward to driving your new car to show your family and friends.
The sales lady, says, “Just before you drive off, I’d like to take you to our service department. We have a great team of people who will look after you from here.”
The sales lady introduces you to a few members of the service team. “These guys will do a great job should you have any questions or issues.” One of the team members gives you his business card. “Any one of the team can help you, but in case you want to speak to someone quickly, please give me a call.”
The trust that the sales person has built with you is now being passed onto the next department that you will be dealing with. There has been a seamless handover from one department to another.
You drive away, happy and secure. Should you need to contact someone in the future, you will know who to call. And, you know that it is not your sales person. You feel okay about this.
This scenario is played out in companies around the world where the customer journey involves contact with different people in the organisation.
So, here’s the bit for you to think about: Thinking of the journey that customers have with your company, how smooth are the handovers from one department to another? That is, how well do you manage service between the seams? You might find some golden nugget opportunities to improve the customer experience just be managing between the seams of your service!
Until next time.