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Demolish The Wrong House? There’s A Lesson Here

“Pittsburgh man latest to have home accidentally demolished”

That was the headline of this amazing story about a guy that comes back from vacation to….. well… nothing.  Luckily he hadn’t moved in yet but he was almost done with improvements and preparing to have his large family take residence.

Even more mind blowing was that this isn’t such a rare occurrence. The story detailed three other such happenings with examples of blame laid on a faulty GPS, wrong side of the street errors and pranksters who moved a ‘condemned’ sign. Hmm, call me progressive, but might one double and triple check for accuracy in such situations?  You even get many chances before someone turns off your gas or the credit card.

This had me thinking – if it seemed this easy to wipe out someone’s “American Dream” how simple is it to miss chances to improve business either by seeing threats more rapidly or identifying opportunities to engage customers more effectively?

Here’s 5 ways I wish I were engaged more effectively:

  1. Why am I getting coupons from the grocery store after I check out? Seriously, I always forget them. Why not let me walk in, enter my info at a kiosk and have these coupons spit out based on my last shopping trip?
  2. Why is my credit card company constantly giving me offers I have never and will never take them up on? They happen to see all my transactions, yet they can’t propose more meaningful mutually beneficial offers?
  3. Why can’t an airline be proactive when it comes to bad experiences? One United instance aside, you would think with finding every conceivable way to add fees (sans Southwest ‘Bags Fly Free’) they would also find ways to love some more. How many times must I specify an aisle seat? Why have me hope for an upgrade when there are more people on the list than seats on the plane? Say ‘sorry’ when there’s been a big delay – don’t make me complain to get some love.
  4. That store I bought a few shirts and slacks from – why don’t you offer me some discount for buying more later? I mean, come on – you know when I bought them and what styles I like. You know my size.  Sure I get an e-mail saying 15% off anything, but you are forcing me to do all the work. Send me an e-mail with information that is tailored (pun intended) to me.  And for the 1,232nd time, no, I don’t want to open a store credit card and get another 10% off. Stop asking me!
  5. OK, this one isn’t about technology, it’s more or less a rant, but I’m not impressed when my waiter/waitress is committing my order to memory rather than writing it down. Please, treat me like I’m important and write the thing down! This must be some idiotic management philosophy.  OK – I’ll make it about technology. Let me connect to your network with my device and place my order on it. Give me my bill on my device as well.  Then, next time I come in, just ask me if I want to see my last order and possibly re-order it.

As organizations embrace proactive customer-centric approaches, we can expect more dynamic and responsive situations that enhance the relationship between consumer and company without of course demolishing it.

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