I was reading the Harvard Business Review (HBR) article: Airline Customers Just Want to Know What’s Happening the other day and it reminded me of a handful of conversations that I have been having recently.
One conversation was a wee while ago with Phil Barden about his book: Decoded (part of my podcast interview series), where we explore how we, as customers, think and make decisions as part of the buying and service process and what businesses can do to help with that. A particularly relevant part of the conversation with Phil centred around what train companies do to make waiting for a train more bearable by giving us updates and countdowns with regards to how many more minutes we have to wait til the arrival of the next train.
The next set of conversations centred around some work that I have been doing recently around customer journey mapping, improving the client experience and, generally, delivering better service to customers and clients.
In those conversations, I’ve been sharing a couple of old sayings (pieces of wisdom?) with my clients to help them think about their client experience a bit differently.
The first saying is:
and, the second is:
Both of these are related and are saying similar things.
However, when I relay them to my clients I often get a look of confusion in return as they struggle to apply what I’ve just said to improving their service delivery or how to improve their client experience.
Normally, I don’t let them off the hook so easily so, to help them, I then ask the following:
Imagine your Mum is faced with a multiple choice question:
Option A states that she can choose for you to call her every 6 weeks or so for an hour and a half; or
Option B states that she can choose for you to call her every week to ten days for a 20 minute chat.
Which option would she (your Mum) prefer?
Answering from their Mum’s perspective, the majority of people answer: Option B.
I then ask them why they believe this to be so and get a range of answers that include:
“She feels more involved”
“She feels more up to date”
“She feels more connected”
I then ask them to think again about the idea “In the absence of information, we make stuff up” and to substitute their ‘Mum’ in the example for their client or customer.
That’s when, for many, the light bulbs tend to go on and they realise that just because they have nothing to report or no new information to share doesn’t automatically mean that their client or customer doesn’t want to hear from them or that they shouldn’t be in touch with them.
Like saying says ‘In the absence of information, we make stuff up’.
Making stuff up causes fear, anxiety, stress and all sorts of other negative emotions……the kind of emotions that you don’t want to be conjuring up in the minds of your customers or clients. The kind of emotions that linger and get remembered.
Therefore, ask yourself if you have any ‘vacuums’ in your customer’s journey and what can you do to fill them before they do?