Having recently attended the Net Promoter Score conference, the concept of ‘wow-ing’ or delighting customers is stuck in my head. A recent personal experience has brought to light the importance of providing clear and accurate information to customers and colleagues at all times. Here’s my story of a ‘wow’ experience turning into a ‘what happened??’ quasi-nightmare because of inaccurate or incomplete information being shared between sales, the customer, and the delivery contractor.
On Day 1 of a recent 10-day family vacation, the tenants of our rental property notified us that their washing machine was broken and needed replacement. As soon as we returned home on the following Sunday, my wife and I went to the Sears Home store to purchase a new washer. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that for just $69, they would remove the old washer, deliver and install the new one plus a new stacking bracket, and reinstall the existing dryer back on top of the new washer. Not only that, they placed a rush on the delivery (3 days) and guaranteed a morning service call so as not to further inconvenience our tenants any more than they had to. We were in and out of the store within 25 minutes, which is a relief when you have two kids under six with you. That was the ‘wow’ part of our experience. At the very moment, if asked for an NPS score I would have given them a 10 without question.
That was 11 days ago…
On the Wednesday morning, the delivery truck arrived as scheduled but they would not install the new washer or remove the old washer. For liability reasons, they were not allowed to disconnect the water hoses on the old washer – a key piece of information that was left out during the sales process.
After an apology from the salesperson (we’ll call him Dan) and an assurance that unhooking the washer was all that was required, I spent an hour driving to the property, unscrewing two hoses, and ordering a new delivery for the next morning (Friday). On Friday, the contractor returned, removed the old washer and installed the new one, but did not install the new stacking bracket or reinstall the old dryer on top. Either those instructions were not accurately conveyed by the salesperson to the contractor in whatever system they use, or they were not reviewed by the contractor.
It is now the following Wednesday and Dan, the sales rep, has finally confirmed the contractor is returning today to complete the job as promised and our tenants will finally have their laundry services restored. He has no information as to why the job wasn’t completed on Friday. If asked today for an NPS score, it would not be pretty.
Looking back on this rather frustrating experience, here is my key takeaway:
1. Providing accurate and complete information to all parties, at all times, is critical to delivering an optimal customer experience.
In my case, a simple checklist outlining my responsibilities as a customer (i.e. unhook the old washer) would have avoided the first delivery problem. Clear instructions to the delivery contractor (i.e. remove, install, stack, etc.) would have avoided the second problem and the ‘wow’ experience would have been complete.
How often do we assume that customers and colleagues already know important pieces of information, when perhaps we shouldn’t? Or share information that is not as specific as it needs to be? I think it happens more than most of us (including myself) care to admit.
What is the resulting cost in terms of the customer experience and lost revenues? I suspect it’s significant. I bought a new washer but I also bought what I thought was a seamless installation experience based on inaccurate information. I think anyone in my situation would think twice before returning to that store when the dryer eventually quits.