Does Your Organization Partner Internally to Deliver Great Service?

Customers are so different today!  Their expectations have increased exponentially in the last 12 months even without considering the impact of the pandemic!  They have raised the bar to a very high level on how they view customer experience.  They are looking for service providers who consistently deliver service experiences that drive loyalty!  Service providers focused on delivering GREAT service and able to change delivery systems rapidly as well as effectively in a very challenging environment.  Customers want the kind of service that takes their breath away!  If we can consistently deliver this kind of experience the payback is huge!

Research concludes that since 2009, customers are valuing an “average” experience less than before and have even less patience for variability in accurate as well as effective delivery.  In addition, research indicates companies that experience inconsistency challenges often expend unnecessary resources without actually improving the customer journey. Making additional investments to improve the customer experience without tightening the consistency of experience is just throwing good money after bad.

It all started with a missing subwoofer speaker cord.  Chip had purchased a set of speakers which the new receiver promptly blew.  The electronics store was an hour from his home.  But, he drove the distance to take the speakers in for repair.  He was told that the sales person had sold him speakers that were not compatible with the receiver.  They could not exchange them since he did not take out their replacement insurance policy.  However, they would return them to the manufacturer for repair.

Weeks later he made another hour long trip to pick up the repaired speakers.  When they loaded the speakers in his car they neglected to include the special cord that connected the subwoofer to the misbehaving receiver.  Chip called to the store to report the missing cord.

“Yes, we have it here.  Just drop by the store and pick it up,” the smart-alecky tech told Chip.  He pressed harder.  “But, I live an hour away.  How about putting the cord in the mail to me?”  The tech got a bit more deviant.  “We are not set up to do that!”  Now, Chip’s emotions were turned up to bright red.

“Let me get this straight,” he preached.  “Your sales person sold me speakers that were not compatible with the receiver he sold me.  I live an hour away and drove in twice—first to bring in the blown speakers and then to pick them up after they were repaired.  You made a second mistake by neglecting to include the subwoofer speaker cord.  Now, you want me to do all the work to recover from your mistakes.  Does that make any sense to you?”

He shot back point blank. “You’ll have to talk with the shipping department.  We are not set up to mail anything.”  After the runaround, Chip finally got the store manager who agreed to spend two dollars to mail him the six foot speaker cord.

Customer service hangs on the capacity of one unit to partner with another on behalf of the customer, not for the convenience of the unit.  Silo thinking and “not my job” attitudes send customers to a competitor faster than most any service practice.  It requires joint accountability and affirmation of great partnership between units, not just teamwork within units.  As one of our clients who heads service excellence experience for a Central American bank profoundly said in a recent inter-unit meeting, “You are not an island; we are a country!”

© Chip Bell Group, 2023.  Courtesy of John R. Patterson (  Permission is given to download and distribute this article as long as it contains this copyright notice.