Customer Service Killed by Bad Processes

I see it all the time – systems and procedures hampering the customer experience – and its never the fault of the person looking after the customer.

I see banks insisting on a two-hour mortgage interview which customers dread, websites insisting you phone them to change an address and unnecessary queues at Aldi when only one person is manning the checkout.

We’ve recently moved house and needed some furniture for our new bedroom, so we chose Oak Furniture land because their products and prices are brilliant. We were given a three-hour window for delivery and sure enough, they turned up on time.

That’s where the good news ended. Our new home has a narrow front door and winding staircase and you can imagine their faces when I politely requested they carry the box up these stairs into the front bedroom. The box contained a four-door double wardrobe made of oak naturally and extremely bulky and heavy.

Grunts of disapproval, mutterings of being unable to do this, impossible, ridiculous, almost rude. They did it though, took 45 minutes, had to remove the furniture from the box and take it up in parts, but it worked. They left it sprawled all over the bedroom with farewell murmurings of should’ve been away 30 minutes ago – well behind schedule now.

You see, that’s the point that I learnt later. These delivery guys are on a strict timetable and are paid and rewarded on achieving this. Our delivery put them back almost an hour and they would get it “in the neck” from their boss.

The call handler at Oak Furntureland promised to send them on a half-day training course on customer service when my partner complained. I feel very sorry for the trainer.

What they need to do is change their policy of such a tight schedule, put in more delivery teams and the problem will be solved. No ones wants to give a bad service, but that timetable didn’t allow for it.

Not a good experience

The moral? Have a quick look at your policies and procedures, ask your team what’s holding them back giving good service – they’ll tell you. Even if you’re a small firm, this is a great exercise. If Oak Furniture Land are listening. There’s no veneer in that.