Remember when Saturday Night Live used to play Quien Es Mas Macho? I’m going to play Quien Es Mas Stupido? Here are today’s contestants:
Contestant #1 is my Internet services provider. I agreed to upgrade to their fiber optic service and made an appointment to have a technician install the service. But when my wife explained to me that they were simply promising to send somebody out between 8AM and noon — and not complete the service within that window (tack on another 4-6 hours for the actual work to get done) — I called and canceled the upgrade.
But at the originally scheduled time, guess who shows up? My wife tells the guy we canceled, and calls me at work. I call the company, and they confirm that yes, I did indeed call and cancel.
Three days later, another technician shows up and starts spray-painting the lawn (maybe he’s marking his territory to keep the gas company guy away). My wife again tells him we canceled and calls me at work. I call the company and ask if they have a record of my cancellation AND an entry for the call I placed three days earlier. The rep says “yes, I see both calls in the system. Let me get a supervisor.”
The supervisor gets on and says “OK, I see the problem here. When you originally called to cancel the service, the order was canceled, but not the service appointment.” Me: “Call me crazy, but it seems to me that when a customer cancels a service, the installation appointment should be automatically canceled.” Supervisor: “That’s a great idea — I’ll pass it along.”
Contestant #2 is a restaurant, part of a national chain. The other night, at 5PM, I called and made a reservation for 5:45 that evening. When we got there, we were handed a square vibrator and told it would be a 10-15 minute wait — even though the restaurant was only half full. When I asked why, I was told they were “short-staffed.” But there were — no exaggeration — FIVE hosts/hostesses standing around the check-in desk AND two more holding the doors open (not that anybody was actually coming in, mind you).
The manager came to the front after a few minutes, and I asked him why, with all the empty tables AND a reservation we had to wait. He apologized, and again gave me the “short staffed” explanation. I said “you know — if it were MY restaurant, I’d take 4 or 5 of the SEVEN people standing around doing nothing, and give them a pencil and piece of paper, teach them to say What Would You Like?, and send them out throughout the restaurant. But hey, who am I to tell you how to run your business?”
So…. Quien Es Mas Stupido?
The answer (of course) is ME. I’m El Stupido. For expecting better. And for thinking I can change the minds of the WOW groupies and Chief Customer Experience Officer believers who think stuff like that matters. It doesn’t. If you got things right the first time (and not even every time — 95% of the time would do) — you’d already be providing a differentiating customer experience.
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