Anyone will agree that customer service is one of the most important parts of the organisation’s overall strategy to conducting business. Without customers there would not be a business.Customers will simply pay more and go elsewhere if they are not completely satisfied with the way an organisation treats them.

Recently I came across an excellent blog post about customer service by John Tschohl a well known customer service strategist.

In his post he raised a very important issue which should be considered when setting business rules. This was that organisations should consider the consequences of the their rules on customers otherwise they may lose customers….



Dumb Rules Often Designed to…

                                                …Make Life Hell for 99% of Customers.

John Tschohl
Too many organizations are so concerned that 1 percent of its customers are going to take advantage of them that they spend 10 times more money making sure that this does not happen and the result is they turn off 99% of their customers. You can make a fortune if the top 99% are over happy.

Let me give you a few examples:

Many hotels and airlines have security passwords for the Free Internet Service. They have to hire someone to pass out the security code which often does not work. With wireless we are concerned someone might be sneaking outside the building and getting on for free. Many hotels are afraid that someone might enter the hotel and use the wireless for free. The COST and frustration you put customers through to prevent someone getting access to your free wireless outweighs the cost 10 to one and makes life hell for the customers.

I do a lot of snow skiing in Vail Colorado and own several ski weeks at Vail Run Resort. When you check in they have 3 free computers in the lobby anyone can use. They have FREE wireless throughout out the building and in each condo. NO special code is needed. They make it easy to sign on.

I was on a trip to Africa in February. Each hotel had a special access code. The Hilton in Addis Ethiopia was charging $22 a day. Most large hotels do not understand the customer experience. Their goal is how do I fleece my customer out of more money. My client Ethiopian Airlines in the Cloud 9 lounge had a special access code,. but it never worked. I told Solomon Debede the Vice President of Customer Service to remove the security code. Let anyone log on. The support cost and frustration is too great. They shouldn’t be concerned that someone might be standing outside the lounge and get on for FREE. Who cares. So What. All they need to do is focus on a great customer experience for  99% of their customers.

Your single goal each day should be to have over happy customers. Eliminate dumb rules and policies that have no real value, cost money to implement and cost MORE money for a supervisor to enforce. Keep in mind employees love rules, policies and procedures. Many customers don’t.

Most governments have crazy forms you have to fill out when you enter the country. The US leads the way. One hundred percent of the immigration/custom forms require you identify your sex. No one can tell what sex you are? Bureaucrats often checked their brains at the door when they got hired.

In Germany, South Africa, Dubai and Holland you just show your passport. All the critical information is on the passport. They all require you to write down your passport number. Why? NO one looks at the form after it is collected.. It is simply a ritual. They hire people to make sure these forms are collected. They hire more expensive people to supervise these employees to make sure the form is filled out. They then dump the forms (I hope)

No consideration is given to speed, convenience, customer experience or cost. Unfortunately this is true of most organizations.

Apple is one of the most valuable companies in the world. Everything in their stores is built around customer experience and speed. Most companies don’t want the sales per square foot they have nor the revenue they have. Amazon had a 41% increase in sales in 2011 with $49 billion in revenue.

Both firms value speed, technology, and customer experience. At Apple people are willing to pay a lot more for this. Why not copy these two role models.

The economy is booming for firms that understand the customer experience. Very few firms want more cash than the US Treasury (Apple July 2011) Firms struggling in this economy have often worked very hard to achieve this. If you want more revenue master the service strategy.

Lessons Learned:

  • What rules should be eliminated today?.
  • Which rules and policies have no real value?
  • How much money can be saved by elimination of stupid rules and policies?
  • How many less employees do you need if eliminated?
  • How much can you increase speed?

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