What does this checkbox mean?

I get to the bottom of the form and see this checkbox.

Update_Customer_Record_BJs

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.

Customer Relationships

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!

Excellent Customer Service

So I tend to go on an on about customer service, it is important to me. No doubt about it we are going to need it at one point or another in our lives.
Well, I ordered some hairspray. What can I say? There is a particular brand of hairspray that I really like, but it is hard to find, so I have to order it. Since I was placing an order anyway, I went ahead and order a couple of other items. Total items in the order 3.
Well the order arrived today. The pick list said all 3 items were included in the package. Alas, only 2 of them were there. Of course, the item that didn’t make it into the package was the item that I really wanted.
So I looked online to see if I could find an easy answer. No. I did find their customer service number and gave it a ring.
Wow! Was I ever impressed. I didn’t have to hold forever. I was put through to the nicest customer service agent I have ever encountered. I was ready to argue for what was right.
He was phenomenal! He asked me what the issue was and I explained how the order had arrived today sans the hairspray. He was great. Instead of pushing back and arguing with me, he was ever so kind and went out of his way to explain how these things can happen and immediately set me up to receive a replacement, no charge. No pushback. No discussion. Just pleasant customer service.
A big shout out to Mike, wherever he may be. You have made me into a believer. I will shop from you again.

Now they Notice

So I have been departing from BofA for months.  I even sent them a break-up email in December.  December 2012.  I told them that I was leaving.  I have slowly and methodically been disentangling myself from their clutches.  Kind of like a long-term ex – every day you find something else that needs to be removed.

I moved all of my automatic payments.  I moved all of my cds.  This is important.  I am a consultant.  I don’t make a lot of money, nor do I have a lot of long term promises in my career, so I set up a system of rolling cds when I went into this field and it has saved my fat from the fire more times than I can count.  Now I have to set up that nifty little system again, elsewhere.   It is not a big deal, it is just annoying.

I didn’t realize all of the transactions I had going in and out of the megalithic institution, until I went to remove them.  Even though I kept them updated, every step of the way.  I would send them a note letting them know I was one step closer to departure, they never responded.   They didn’t even notice until my account balances fell below $25.  I have received multiple notices that my account balance has fallen below $25.  That is just sad.  They only care, when they legally have to care.  What a shame.

Let’s get real.  I am a very small fry in a much bigger pond.  My numbers aren’t high enough that they are going to tip the balance sheet one way or the other, I know that.  What I am is a long-time customer.  BofA and I had a relationship for a very long time.  Another metric of stability is churn.  Everyone who is talking about customer service mentions churn.  Sad part is additions are the only things rewarded.  No one give a rat’s ass about the existing customer.  It isn’t until the existing customer becomes a past customer and part of churn that the machine even notices them.  This is sad.

In some ways, I think this passion to break off with BofA has influenced other parts of my life.  I had been a long time customer of Sprint  and I am not there anymore either.  Customer service is a huge differentiator in this world of service providers.  I can get the good elsewhere – how I am treated along the way is what is valuable to me.