Anyone love their phone company? If you are like me, there is nothing I abhor more than needing to call them. Every time I call, I have to do a bit of meditational breathing and mentally prepare myself for what will inevitably be hours of frustration. Not only will there be excessive hold times involved, but I will also be bounced from department to department, left dealing with several different people and having to repeat my issue over and over again. If I’m not disconnected along the way, it feels like victory. Sound familiar?
Now, compare this to the Apple store experience. I make an appointment online, walk into the store at my designated time and get assigned an Apple Genius who will help me every step of the way. Not only do they stay by my side, but they are empowered to answer questions and even ring me up right there on their iPhone when I am ready to transact.
And so there it is — the world we live in, shifting between these two contrasted experiences. And the more Apple-like the world gets, the more we are unwilling to deal with extended wait times and poor customer service.
What would happen if the phone company empowered their frontline employees to help with all of the situations they may be faced with? Think of the minutes a customer spends on hold before resharing the same story 2, 3, 4+ times; or the minutes employees waste transferring people around and listening to the same stories their colleagues have already heard. Would one person be more efficient? Would customers stop dreading the experience and — dare I say — even find it enjoyable?
This is happening within the automotive retail sector as we speak. Progressive dealers around the country are deploying technology and empowering their sales teams to streamline the entire process. And while many dealerships refuse to change, most sit somewhere in between — trying to enhance the experience, but without the tools or buy-in to make it stick. [Read more…]