Sometimes we need to be reminded that simple customer satisfaction is almost always the goal of most businesses – and that policies and procedures are merely means to that end.
A recent, hard-to-believe experience brought this to my attention.
While getting my ears lowered at my local chain haircut emporium (whose name still escapes me even after years of visits) a man came in who had apparently booked an appointment online for himself and his son.
The man was called up but asked that his son go first. The employee said that this was not possible; the computer indicated that he, not his son, was in the first position, and that it was corporate policy to do what the computer said.
The man politely but firmly mentioned that the online booking program does not allow one to enter preferences or even names of people; the order of haircut is randomly assigned – – and since it involved two family members (as opposed to two strangers), the order of haircut shouldn’t really matter.
Incredibly, the employee still refused to let the son go first, claiming it was “Corporate policy”.
The man understandably was confused and frustrated, but out of a surplus of good cheer he managed through the situation (after getting a more empathetic but no more satisfying repeat of the message from the store manager – “I’ll be sure to bring this up with Corporate”).
Corporate policy in this case would likely be in place for one of two reasons:
- to avoid conflicts with two parties who have booked simultaneously
- to gather information so that strategies and programs can be implemented to enhance the future experience of future customers
Now, I’m a big believer in insight-driven marketing; as described above it’s what one might call the ‘long road’.
HOWEVER, when the customer is standing right in front of you (or is on the phone, or in an online chat) the opportunity to create satisfaction is immediate – and needs to be taken!
As we enter the high holy season of shopping, this would be good for retailers to remember.