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How to make a customer connection … NOT!

I try to stay positive and upbeat, but every once in awhile you have that negative customer experience that gnaws away at you and you just have to get it off your chest.

I received a letter in the mail the other night from the dealer where I bought my car last summer. The letter said that I was due for a service check up. It included a phone number to call to schedule an appointment. I put the letter in my briefcase to remind me to call them the next day.

When I found time to make some calls the following day, I dialed the number included in the letter and immediately got the recorded “menu” of options. Interestingly, the menu went through all the options and then said if I wanted service, I could call another number or wait for the operator. I remind you that I called the number included in the letter.

I held and waited till the operator picked up, asked for service and she connected me. A rather gruff voice answered the phone, “Service” with no name given or thanks for calling or any kind of platitude. I referenced that I was calling in regard to the letter that I had received. The service person asked me if my on-board computer was telling me that I was due for service. I replied that it was not to which he said, “Well, then just ignore the letter.” And, that was pretty much the end of that experience.

Note to customer advocates: Don’t make up process for your customers to endure unless there is some value in exchange.

This post was originally published January 14, 2009 in Customer Connection.

About the Author

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

As the third generation of Walkers to lead the privately-held research and consulting firm, Steve is focused on creating shareholder value for Walker’s clients through customer intelligence and customer strategies. Steve was named president of Walker in 1994 and added the CEO title in 1996. Then, in 2006, Steve was named chairman of the board.

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