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Customer Experience Before Upgrade

By Joey Havens

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I’m staring at my cell phone ringing from an unknown number on my way home from our cabin where DIRECTV has missed their second appointment with me. It’s three hours round trip so you can imagine my mindset is not exactly even-tempered. I have been talking with the DIRECTV support team and advanced resolution team all morning. And based on my experience, there’s nothing advanced about their service or capabilities. I did learn a few new excuses which I took the time to point out as they rolled each one out. 

Do I answer this call or not? Maybe it’s the technician assigned to my appointment. “Hello.” It is DIRECTV, but instead of the technician, it’s a salesperson who launches into a spill on how important and valued I am as a customer and she has a great opportunity for me to UPGRADE my service. You can’t make this up. I can’t help but start laughing, so much so that she has to stop to ask me what is so funny? 

I shared with her my experience for the day, which was the second horrible experience with her company in the last two weeks. “I am definitely not in an upgrade mindset.” “I understand Mr. Havens and I’m sorry to have bothered you.” She was gone as quickly as she had come, which when it comes to sales, that’s pretty incredible. 

I admit I am not a big enough person to swallow this completely.  After listening to “please hold, we value your time all morning,” I share my frustration on LinkedIn and Twitter.  

As funny and unfortunate the timing was on this upgrade call, I wonder if we make similar mistakes in our client service. How often do we show up with a pitch for more services when we have not had an intentional conversation on “How could we have served you better?”

Until we understand where our client experience is today, it’s tough to be successful at growing that relationship with additional services and more advisory work. It’s difficult to introduce new team members to relationships and expect success when we have not assessed where we are with the client. We know (or at least assume) they like us. We know (another assumption) they “trust” us. But this trust is confined so narrowly we are losing clients purchasing power. We also make lots of assumptions on what they need and want. What I rarely find is where we have sat face-to-face with them to inquire, “How could we have served you even better?

Have you ever wondered why we are hesitant, fearful or simply complacent in asking such a powerful question? As we work towards a future view of providing more advisory services and enhancing relationships, we will be best served if we start with this foundational question. 

For me, I terminated DIRECTV, declined their support request from social media and was amazed by how many other customers shared similar experiences with me.  

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