DORA’S DIARY : Help your customers succeed
Posted Tuesday, January 22 2013 at 02:00
Do you weigh the impact of company procedures on all your customers? Victor, one of this column’s readers sent in this experience after reading about poor customer service at one of Kampala’s many banks.
Victor says last year, his Amsterdam-based friend Rachel decided to cancel a three year old standing order instructing Barclays to regularly transfer funds to her investment firm. Thinking that all she had to do was put the request in writing, Rachel called both the Kampala Road and Hannington Road Barclays offices to confirm this.
To her chagrin however, her numerous calls went unanswered. When Rachel finally managed to obtain a specific employee’s phone number, the person she spoke to informed her that among other requirements, she would have to send a written and notarized cancellation request as well as her actual passport to Barclays in Kampala. Seeking to comply, Rachel looked up a notary in Amsterdam only to learn that the service cost no less than Euros 200 payable in advance.
Finding these costs and the other bank requirements unreasonable, Rachel opted to involuntarily maintain the standing order long enough to deplete her account to zero at which point her Barclays relationship would be terminated.
By not considering the impact of this particular procedure on customers living outside the country, the bank will lose a frustrated customer.
Moral: Wear your customers’ shoes
Do you partner with customers to meet their declared objectives? Knowing I had to leave my office by 6:00pm in order to reach my destination on time, I scheduled a 5:30pm pick-up with Kampala’s City Cab.
Confident that the driver would be late, hence my 30 minute buffer, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from Alex the driver assigned to me at 5:25pm that evening. He was already on the premises and was waiting for me. Since I had not expected the driver to actually keep time and because there a couple of things I needed to finalize in my office before my departure, I asked Alex to wait for a few minutes. Fifteen minutes later however, Alex called again.
“Madam, let us leave now. Traffic is going to be a problem.” I was so impressed by the apparent urgency in Alex’s voice as well as his concern for my punctuality that I quickly wrapped up what I was doing and walked out of my office less than five minutes later. We actually made it to my destination with a full 30 minutes to spare.
What makes Alex a winner here? His respect for punctuality not only caused him to show up early for our appointment, but also made him politely remind this grateful and duly impressed customer that it was time to leave.
Moral: Help customers meet objectives