Change is inevitable. It is kind of like death and taxes. No matter how well planned and organized you might think something is, give it time, it will change. Today’s rant is brought to you by my latest disappointment in banking and life upheaval 101.
I am so disappointed in Capital One! They bought my favorite banking institution a number of years ago, but it wasn’t until recently I actually started paying attention. [New goal in life: Be in a position where I can fire and forget a ‘stash’ account!]
This is a wee bit of a tale of woe. Years ago, I opened an account with ING Direct! This was ‘bleeding edge’ banking and I gave it a try, not to mention they were offering the highest rates of return for savings. I LOVED it. This was the BEST banking UI and experience I had ever encountered! It was better than my brick and mortar experiences, hands down! Mind you, this was all before the whole “Mobile First” approach and we back-office types were still trying to figure out how to plumb the system, not to mention how unsettling this completely virtual banking relationship seemed to many of us, BUT they offered a high-yield alternative to traditional banks.
The timing was opportune for ING Direct – they were already offering decent rates for minimal deposits. (Probably the incentive that got my attention…but we are talking about a decade ago…) I locked in a 5% rate on a traditional CD for as little as $1,000. Sure do wish I would have had more to risk!
The onboarding for ING Direct was old school. It was multi-factored authentication, but it required the end-user to jump through a few hoops. I actually liked it. I remember telling my fellow product designers about how ‘comfortable’ I felt every time I logged into that account.
Fast forward to today. A lot of time has passed. My cd matured. I rolled it over, but am not getting anywhere near as much interest! Capital One said they were going to make this new account the ‘best of both worlds‘ I am here to tell you they failed – epically! Dear heavens why did you have to make this so painful, to do the same things ING Direct was doing so successfully?
As I have been walking backward through my life experiences to create the resume that will open the doors for discussions about the next life challenge to undertake, it is hard to summarize everything I have done and keep from getting distracted.
One of the primary roles I have had consistently for years has been ‘intake’. I love this part of the job. This is the opportunity to review the forward-looking proposals and evaluate how we could deliver it, or not.
It isn’t an ‘all-knowing’ skill, but more of a leveraging skill. The key to success is being able to identify the brainiacs around me and working with them to business-ize the proposals. I am really good at this. The issue is communicating the value to prospective new teams.
I did find something buried in the links of interest I have collected over the years. This one makes me smile. I love that the auto industry doesn’t want to give up the ‘connected device’ challenges automatically to apple or google. Wonder if any of these consortia members have any openings and are near me? It would be fun to influence the future, again.
I get to the bottom of the form and see this checkbox.
Did I just create a new ‘Customer Record‘ on my account OR did I just update all of my account information with the form information I just submitted OR yet some other nefarious scenario I haven’t considered?
So frustrating. Advice to small business ecommerce sites, eliminating confusing interactions will really help reduce the abandon rates and improve the completed transactions.
“The success of Trupanion’s omni-channel capabilities is a clear sign of where the contact center industry is headed. Companies creating customer obsession cultures and placing the consumers’ experience above everything else will give them a competitive advantage. Delivering truly remarkable experiences will keep their customers loyal and win the hearts and the wallets of today’s consumer.”
The Way to A Customer’s Heart is Through Obsession [CASE STUDY] by Chris Koziol, President & GM, Interaction Management on April 22nd, 2014 Originally published April 17, 2014 on Business2Community by Chris Koziol App-crazy consumers are very adept at managing several communication modes at one time. Whether it’s on the web or on the phone, texting or talking, people today are immersed in data and have grown to expect immediate, always-on access to these channels for gathering, sharing, and ver…
Fourteen years ago I had the displeasure of being stuck on a last minute flight serviced by Frontier Airlines. It was such a horrendous experience, I swore I would never fly on them again. Four years ago, I had no other choice but Frontier to be able to get someplace I needed to be, in a timely fashion. I was incredibly, pleasantly surprised. That trip experience caused me to revisit my earlier decision to exclude them from the options when planning a flight.
Last year, Frontier began direct flights from where I live now to my hometown. I was thrilled beyond belief. No one flies directly to my hometown! My parents are aging and it was easy to be able to go to my airport and land practically at their front door. Frontier had proclaimed my hometown to be one of their ‘focus’ cities and I couldn’t be happier. The terminal is clean. The staff is friendly. We took advantage of these flights. It was a marvelous experience.
In addition to actually flying where I wanted to go, Frontier had a tiered pricing strategy that allowed me to choose my experience and pay for what I wanted for my trip experience. Along with the other carriers, Frontier began charging for baggage, beverages, on-board entertainment, etc. Their differentiator had become the optional bundling prices. If you were solely interested in budget, you could choose their least expensive fare and fly on the cheap. If you were going to check anything, you could purchase the next level up and still not have all of the amenities. If you were like me and interested in minimizing the stress and strain of a trip by paying for the experience you desired when you traveled, you could go with their high-end priced ticket purchase. This simplified everything. You could check two bags, the cost was included. You could pre-select your premium seat, the cost was included. On-board entertainment was included so you didn’t have to fumble to locate your credit card if you desired to watch the television in the back of the seat in front of you during your trip. Automatically you received a beverage on-board while you were traveling between your destinations. For me, the less-headaches-make-for-a-pleasant-trip-traveler, this option was perfect. I liked paying for everything I wanted all at once. I liked knowing how much my trip was going to cost me before I left. I liked budgeting for the trip and knowing there wouldn’t be any surprises when I was aboard the plane. This set of options worked for me. The bookkeeping was simplified and the tracking was their problem.
Earlier this year, Frontier announced it was eliminating its focus city program and pulling all flights to my hometown. I was horrendously disappointed, but understood the economics of their decision. I realized this is probably one of the concessions they had to make to stay in business in the cut throat competition that is commercial travel. No problem. There is an airport not that far to the north where I can still rent a car and drive to my parents’ house. The bummer is it will cost me more. The facility fee at this larger airport is substantially higher than that of my hometown, but this was a price I would have to pay whether I flew Frontier or any of the other airlines that service the larger hub airport. I bit the bullet and bought the Frontier ticket, anticipating all of the other amenities that had made my experience better than that of the other air providers to be worth the difference.
July 10th, we set out on our holiday adventure to find our way to my hometown. The trip started amazingly well. The car I booked to get us to the airport wasn’t merely a towncar, they sent a stretch limo. The car service we use does this from time to time and I always get a chuckle out of watching the driver back the limo down a drive that isn’t much longer, or wider, than the car itself. The driver was amazing. He was friendly and entertaining. I like to have drivers with personality and this particular car service seems to hire those the best.
Our experience at the airport was wonderful. We had paid for the premium tickets, which includes the ability to use the quicker lanes through security. Save for the family headed to Europe whose children were the most entitled people I have met in a long time, even the TSA adventure wasn’t awful. We are planners, so we had planned for delays in security but we didn’t hit any so we were able to find our way to a nice restaurant in the terminal and have a drink and a sandwich before we boarded the plane.
It wasn’t until we were onboard the plane that the disappointment began to creep in. Frontier you are definitely showing signs of a company dying to stay alive. So sad to see them failing so quickly. Frontier had made so many strides in the early parts of the 21st century! The decisions they have made have wiped out all of those improvements in less than six months…
• Changes to the product offering without any notice.
• Plane was dirty. Incredibly dirty!
• Seat pocket was broken.
• Seat was broken.
• Staff on the plane seemed tired and somewhat rude.
Since I traveled with them 6 months ago, they have lost all of the things that had impressed me….I guess I need to find a new airline, again. Time to do some research. There is always United. Alaska is entering the markets that Frontier has abandoned. Time to check out their schedules.
I know United is going to treat me poorly, but at least their planes are clean and they don’t lie to you and change their offerings as quickly, without any notice. I don’t have as much experience with Alaska, but I do have a few friends who swear by, rather than at, their performance. Guess it is time to give them a chance. Increasingly companies are expressing their disinterest in brand loyalty. I am not a price only consumer, I look at the entire package and I do not feel like I received the value for what I paid to Frontier. I have to take back all of the glowing statement I made about Frontier a year ago. To everyone I misled into thinking you would have a positive experience, my apologies.
I have so been on a roll with the whole customer service thing, that I thought it might be a nice idea to include an anecdote that has stuck with me for years.
Years ago I was hired to do some business process engineering for an incredibly unique company. My role was to identify, map and diagram their processes to help them transform into a new type of business. It was a great opportunity. I was way outside of my comfort zone in an industry that I knew very little about, save curiosity. I started with the basics. Diagrams of the processes, identification of the requirements, the interaction of the processes across the organization, a gap analysis and the suggestions for improvement. (little did I know that about a year later those suggestions would ultimately cost me my job as I had a role that I had identified as expendable, when I was consulting!)
To get to the deliverables, I interviewed users. A lot of users. To find the best practices, I interviewed those identified as top producers. To understand what made the top producers, I also interviewed those considered to be sub-par and to make it fair, I met with many of the mediocre. It was fascinating. To make a buck, everyone had to do the same ‘thing’ and it wasn’t really that the premium producers did anything different, it was the way they paid attention to their customers that set them apart, in the end.
It was during these interviews that I experienced the difference. This one superior producer didn’t treat any customer any different than she did anyone else. Quite frankly, she treated everyone the same. I witnessed her make a couple of deals in the days I spent with her. One sale was more than I make in a year, while most of the others were less than I typically spend on handbags in a year. It didn’t matter. She treated them all the same and her burgeoning book of business is a testament to the success of that approach.
It was all about the relationship she built with the customer. She knew everything she could about each customer. She built the relationships over time and came away from each interaction she had with each customer with another detail that she could find useful in future interactions. It is brilliant! From these details, she was able to foresee needs and fill them, sometimes even before the customer knew they needed something. She was amazing! It is her approach to customer relationships I am looking to emulate as I go forward. There is an opportunity every day to observe and capture details that can be used to build the foundation of every relationship. I use it in my personal life, why not apply it to my professional one?
Customer relationships – the difference is in the details!