As a marketer and Go-Giver, I constantly look at how businesses . . . well, do business.
While some will say the purpose of business is to make a profit (and thus provide value), and others will say the purpose of business is to provide value (and thus make a profit), it still comes down to this: In order to make a sustained, continued profit, businesses must provide value. To the degree they do this, they will have a loyal following who will continually do business with them and refer them to others.
Or, to paraphrase Ernesto in The Go-Giver, they must focus on providing the ultimate experience.
Ultimate experience = gain business.
Average to good experience = business by chance.
Negative experience = lose business.
The latter was the case with a local painting contractor who, while being hired to repaint the exteriors of all the condos in my community, offered to paint our individual patios for an extra charge. Sounded good to me.
Now, the fact that they didn’t actually do the job was not an issue. They might have knocked on my door when I was out of town. Totally no problem; easy to reschedule. The problem was, I was billed for the job.
The person on the phone assured me it was just a “computer thing” . . . that I didn’t owe the money, and they would call me to reschedule.
They didn’t. But worse, I received another bill, this time telling me my payment was overdue. Nice person on phone explained again that it was just a computer problem and wouldn’t happen again.
Rinse and repeat. It did. A third bill. It now said, PAST DUE! (Yes, the bill yelled at me) 🙂
I called and spoke to another very nice woman. “Unfortunately,” she explained, “the computer is programmed that way. We’ve had other complaints about this and are trying to get someone to figure out how to change the program so that it doesn’t do that.” Oh, and did I want to set a definite appointment for the painting?
I did not. I (of course, very politely) let her know that I’d like to cancel and “may I please have my account totally removed from the computer so that I don’t receive another bill?” I now fully realized that their computer problem had become my computer problem. Dangerous for a business these days to allow this to happen.
Hopefully, she will let the powers-that-be at her company know what happened.
And . . . shame on them. 🙂
As you already know, their computer is only the symptom, not the cause. The cause is a company culture that doesn’t understand it is their responsibility – not their computer’s – to make sure their customer is taken care of properly and enjoys, in this case, the ultimate patio painting experience.
They meant well, but good intent simply doesn’t matter when you provide negative value.