Customer Experience: Bad Information Can Be Worse Than No Information!
In an increasingly competitive business environment, organizations seek ways to differentiate. Many companies focus on customer experience as a key area where things can be improved. In the past, customers may have put up with poor support and slow service, but when the competitive forces are high and switching costs are low it is easy for them to vote with their feet. In fact, they might also share their experiences on review sites and social media too, tarnishing the company’s reputation!
There are many ways that customer experience can be enhanced, but one way is to provide information to the customer to set their expectations throughout. This sounds so trivial but it can make a huge difference. Being told “your delivery will arrive sometime on Monday” is nowhere near as convenient and useful as being told, “your delivery will arrive between 9 and 9.45 on Monday. We’ll text you when the driver is ten minutes away”.
However, information like this only actually improves customer experience if it is reliable and accurate. I’ll give you a real example: I was waiting in for a grocery delivery due between 11 am and 1 pm and the supermarket’s app said that the driver was 12 stops away and would be at least an hour. Since I had at least an hour, I got absorbed with work and got into the flow. I was surprised when five minutes later the delivery driver arrived and knocked on the door.
It wasn’t a major problem, but I was curious so I asked the delivery driver how his day was going. “Oh, it’s been a nightmare. A whole bunch of customers wasn’t actually in. I don’t understand why people book slots and then go out”. I explained to him that the app shows a specific delivery time, to which he responded “oh yeah, I’d ignore that. It’s always wrong. I don’t know what they base that on”. I smiled, repressing my BA tendency to ask more questions!
Inaccurate Information Can Make Things Worse
In this example, it seems the company had tried to provide useful information to its customers but had actually done so in a way that made things worse for the customer and its staff. Think of the waste, all because the information provided to customers was not accurate:
● The delivery driver drives to addresses where people are out
● Customers don’t get their shopping
● Some food perishes as it isn’t delivered
● Other food has to be restocked back at the delivery center
● The customer services team have to contact the customers and arrange re-delivery
● Some customers probably just decide to switch and shop elsewhere
● And more besides…
This is just one example, you have almost certainly experienced similar situations yourself as a consumer. It is worth keeping these kinds of factors in mind when designing processes and services: asking what information customers need, but also ensuring that it can be provided accurately.
As the example above illustrates, giving inaccurate information can have a negative effect on customers and create waste too. This is something definitely best avoided, and an area where BAs can spot improvement opportunities!