We have learned to live with meaningless, annoying service chatter—the brainchild of marketing firms decades ago. Here is a recent experience of mine.
“Assistance is just a moment away.” (Music)
“Because we give every caller personal service, you may experience a brief delay.” (Music)
“We look forward to being of assistance to you.” (Music)
“We know your time is valuable and appreciate your call. Help is just moments away.” (Music)
“Our staff is working hard to take your call and looks forward to serving you.” (Music)
Eleven minutes later, a representative answered my call. I received resolution of my problem but I did not feel good about the experience. The marketing message for the company I was calling claimed, “personal, attentive service,” and “unprecedented responsiveness.” They assured me, when I signed on for their service, that my experience would not be what I was used to; it would be a tier higher.
This reality, the one where marketing is separated from the customer’s true experience, is tragic. Sales and marketing departments listen to what customers want and develop scripts and mantras around those desires. Internally, operations is trying to survive. Short staffing, unpredictable workloads, unforeseeable site problems, a truck driver who gets lost, a scheduler who becomes ill and needs to go home—these are the practicalities which determine whether or not we can meet the marketing promise.
Gone are the days where mottos and service slogans are effective. People get the real scoop from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media forums. Most will not reserve a restaurant or a hotel without googling for reviews and taking the advice of others who have sampled the goods. Real people, a real experience, in real time—that’s what’s hot today.
Examine the messages that are being touted by your sales and marketing team. Answer this question. Is the marketing message congruent with the customer experience? If not you may as well tell your customers you look forward to serving them, while you put them on-hold for eleven minutes.
Joan Fox is a customer experience consultant to the ready-mix industry and a popular conference speaker. Telephone 513-793-9582 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.