Each of us can draw on examples of bad customer experience. We are creatures that notice the negative and the stories stay with us. Conversely, our customers don’t really notice when things go well.
Which is why I like the word frictionless to describe a good customer experience. It’s one that goes smoothly.
I moved last week. Setting up Internet and TV in the new place became an experience full of friction. As a customer, it’s the last thing you need during a move.
Here in Canada, internet service is almost a monopoly. Converged operators (aka cable providers) are granted exclusive licenses by area. So, they don’t really compete directly with each other. The only competition or alternative is to use the phone company (aka a Telco). ALL of them are notorious for bad customer experience.
This time I saw a new trend. An inside sales person handles the move, not a support person.
Yes, there has always been a tendency for operators to try to upsell when someone calls support. Comparable to the fast-food phrase… is there anything else you want with your order. This was different. This was pushing for the upgrade right out of the gate.
Well, almost right out of the gate. With my current provided, I waited 45 minutes in a chat queue for a “move specialist”.
Then came the sales pitch for the latest fastest greatest internet service. They were discontinuing my current services when people changed an account.
After prolonged discussion of the new offer, in frustration, I said: You haven’t even asked me my new address. (The new place is on an area border. I thought I could stay with the existing.) Turns out they don’t offer services at the new place. Discovered, 1.5 hours of friction later.
Next day, I started to chat to the Telco in the area to find out what was required for setup. Again, I was connected to an inside salesperson. This time offshore. Again, selling the latest fastest greatest thing. At least we moved to a phone call. Options were presented as offers. All my questions were faced with objective handling rather than information.
I had little confidence it would be that easy. Equipment just dropped at my door that I could self install (What door? It’s a condo with secure access. Did the building need special installation? Something not fully known by an offshore salesperson.)
Turns out it wasn’t that easy.
I waited until I got the keys. I discovered there was a better local promotion for this building (Highpoint!). And yes, a technician needed to install the internet modem in an electrical box in the unit front closet.
But even this turned into a weeklong nightmare. The initial order taker didn’t listen properly to the spelling of my name… turning Lori into Lauri. That order had to be canceled, re-entered and rescheduled. Then when scheduling the job to the technician, they confused my details with someone else who was moving into a different unit. Finally, a technician arrived at 530 on the Friday before the long weekend. It was all set up.
To be honest, the service is frictionless. It’s working brilliantly. The customer experience to get to that was not.
I’m not even sure a look at process could fixt a lot of this. Some of it is just error.
How do you handle onboarding new customers? Can you say it’s a frictionless experience? How might you improve it?
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