One of the things I love most about interacting with other businesses is seeing ways we can constantly improve in our own business. There are also times when it makes me shake my head — some businesses who complain about a lack of customers and clients need to look at their service, their client care, in all departments.
A few examples from last week. . .
A client recently asked if we could spend a day together working on her business. This was the easy part, after all, it’s what I love to do most with my clients.
The tough part? Nailing down “the place”. My Team contacted a couple of places and here is some of what they heard:
- “We can send you pictures of the room next week.” Turns out only one person had a camera and she would have to go home to download the pictures. After getting over the shock that the conference department of a major hotel has no pictures of the facilities, then reviving themselves from learning that only one person in the department has a camera which involves “going home” to get the pictures, my Team asked if anyone had a camera on their phone. POOF! Pictures within 5 minutes.
Then we received a notice about an invoice for a recent print job. And down the rabbit hole we went:
- To get to the invoice and pay it, we had to log into their system and run a report. The default month and year? While I would have assumed “October 2012”, was actually “January 2006”.
- Their system notified us that our credit card “if” on file would automatically be charged. Not having used this company in over 2 years, we had no idea if my info was on file and had to figure out their system to discover the answer.
Then we needed a copy of a hotel receipt. Simple right?
- The call to the hotel resulted in multiple transfers and it taking over 3 hours to be received. (Note this was not the same hotel as above.)
Not only is this stuff annoying to potential, and actual, customers and clients, it’s also tedious and time consuming. And for those of us who are paying someone to handle it for us, more costly than necessary.
You can bet I won’t be using any of the above vendors again until they improve their systems and incorporate some common sense practices.
My Request to You
This is a request I’ve made in the past for other things, yet applies so well here. Ask a friend or family member (not a colleague) to walk through your processes.
Do they make sense? Are they easy?
Change what needs changing and consider everything you do from the point of view of your customers and clients — who don’t know (or care) about all the intricacies of shopping carts, virtual assistants, procedures, etc. And who do care about having their needs and wants met in the quickest and easiest way.
After all, having an awesome marketing and business plan means little if your “back office” processes are turning away clients.