When the Communicator Met the Customer


Communicator: We’re delighted to announce that our new updated, redesigned and relaunched service is even easier to use than it has ever been.

Customer: But it’s not.

Communicator: We value your feedback, but our new redesigned service has a whole range of new features, topped off by an absolutely fabulous design.

Customer: Your new service sucks.

Communicator: Thank you for your feedback. We always strive to listen to our customers and respond to your needs.

Customer: No you don’t.

Communicator: It is our corporate policy to respond to customer feedback within seven working days.

Customer: Yes, after an age you respond with stupid thank yous and blah blah blah, but nothing ever happens. You never actually do anything about the feedback.

Communicator: Thank you for your feedback but can you please allow me to tell you more about our fabulous, customer-centric philosophy that underlies this new, redesigned service. Customer centricity is one of our seven business priorities. If you’d like to hear more about the other six, I can point you to a video of our CEO enthusiastically endorsing each one.

Customer: Customer centricity? You wouldn’t know a customer if you met one. You’re up there in your corporate ivory tower talking to your PR and ad agencies, and corporate change experts, and you have no actual clue what goes on in the real world. You’re totally out of touch, you know.

Communicator: Thank you for your feedback. But our new, redesigned service has the most modern underlying technology, and it was built customer-centric from the bottom up. Why, we even tested it with real customers just before launch to confirm how fabulous and user-friendly it is.

Customer: Have you actually tried to use it?

Communicator: My role is not to use our services but rather to communicate about how easy they are to use.

Customer: Have you used it?

Communicator: No, and I don’t see the point that you’re trying to make, if you will excuse my forthrightness.

Customer: The point is that you have no clue what you’re talking about. Your redesigned service sucks. It’s much worse than the older one.

Communicator: That couldn’t be possible. We spent a lot on this redesigned service. It’s a key part of our overall brand repositioning. Our ad agency promises that we will now be seen as customer centric and very easy to use.

Customer: But you’re not. You’re horrible to use. And you’re getting worse because you have a senior management that is disconnected and delusional. You want your customers to do what you want them to do, not what we want to do. You communicate at and market at people. You never truly listen.

Communicator: I’m listening now.

Customer: Ok. I’ve got a list of things that aren’t working properly with your so-called redesigned service. Are you ready to take them down?

Communicator: Excuse me?

Customer: Are you ready to take this list of problems down and get them fixed?

Communicator: Sorry, but that’s not really my role. My role is to create content and talk about ease-of-use. It’s not my role to actually help make things simpler. It’s probably someone in IT that you should give that list to. I’m afraid I can’t help.

Gerry McGovern is the founder and CEO of Customer Carewords. He is widely regarded as the worldwide authority on increasing web satisfaction by managing customer tasks.


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