When Business Decisions Impact Customer Experience

“Who Moved My Wine?”

Last week I went to the UPS pickup station to retrieve a package that required my signature.  It was a shipment of wine. Wine shipments require a signature and I am typically never at home when they deliver. Which means I come home to a notice stuck to my door that says they will try again the next day.  After 3 tries, they tell me I have to come pick it up.  This is the relationship I have established with my wine club shipper.

I could probably call or have it shipped to my office, but for some reason that is unbeknownst to me and my better judgement, I always go through this ritual.  I know I could manage it better, but for some reason, I just never do.

So last week  I found  myself in front of the counter looking at a young man in disbelief when he could not find my wine.   I was on my way out of town early the next morning and I wanted to take it with me as a gift to my friend.  

“Do you have a tracking number”, he asks.  “Well, I did but I have lost it.  Wait, wait, I remember receiving an email”

I produced the email to him on my iPhone and  I could see the embarrassment he had for me as he said,

“Ma’am,  that’s a FEDEX tracking number.”

Besides feeling instantly like the stupidest person on earth,  I found myself irritated.  Why did they change the shipper they used?  

As I said before, I have gone through this routine numerous times and I have always picked up my shipment at that UPS center.  So, essentially they had trained me to come to this place, not the FEDEX pickup center, which was not on my side of town.  So, the fact that they changed the arrangement without me knowing felt like a betrayal of sorts.  

My wine club must have decided to change from UPS to FEDEX for some reason, maybe costs or convenience or any number of reasons that I don’t know.  I’m sure that it made really good business sense.  I’m sure they didn’t think for one second that it would affect me and my routine.

What do you do in your business that may be affecting the experience your customer has.  What are the things you don’t think that much about, but may be unintentionally creating a less than great experience for your clients?

My story is an extreme example of course,  I have to take some (…Ok all) of the responsibility for reading a notice on my door a little more closely.  But it made me think about the things I may change in my business that seem small or not even connected to my client.  Do I think all the way to the end of the customer experience when I make these decisions?

Once I changed a Credit Card Merchant processor to save money and make the process more convenient for my staff.  The new company was just a lot easier for us to work with.  We had clients who had recurring charges and we decided to change the days that their credit cards were charged.   We never would have thought that charging a credit card a few days earlier or later would matter, but some people didn’t like that and we heard about it.   We just didn’t think it through and it seemed so small to us, so we didn’t bother to let them know that they might see the charges on a different day. Ouch,  it wasn’t fun to answer those phone calls.

Sometimes changes like this are essential, there is no way around it.  However, what you can do is think through to how it will ultimately affect your customer experience and make sure they are aware of the change and how it will affect them.

Plan to make the transition slow so that your client is OK with it.  

Communicate often of the change.  Your clients have a thousand things going on in their life, they may not be ready to listen to you the first time, so give them a few times to notice.

Take the feedback you get from your clients seriously when you do get it.   

You will have to make decisions in your business that may occasionally inconvenience some clients, that’s tough.  But, if you make it as easy for them as possible not only will you increase their loyalty to you, it will train you and your team to always think of your client’s needs first.

You go girl,