Recently, I called IBM on behalf of HP to get information about Tealeaf. I think Tealeaf is an awesome product - and HP could really benefit from it. When I went to IBM's site, I tried to find a phone number to call. After searching on their site for about 15 minutes to find a number for sales - and finding nothing of the sort except a form - I filled out the form in hopes someone from sales would contact me.
Ah - the dreaded sales form that often goes off to a black hole and no one contacts me - ever.
I didn't get a phone call, but I did get a nurturing email a couple of weeks later, inviting me back to the site to read another PDF.
And they asked me to fill out another form. *sigh*
After poking around their site for 30 minutes or so, I finally found a way to contact sales on their site (as well as contact any employee I could think of - but commentary for that experience will be held for another day). I called the number on the site, a human answered the phone, and then the human told me it would be a few days before someone from Tealeaf to call me back.
Now, some people would say this is a bad customer experience. I disagree. I think IBM is just practicing bad business.
What is good business?
- Having a phone number/chat window easily available for a customer to contact you
- Answering a sales call
- Calling a prospect back within 24 hours of initial contact
These aren't things out of the ordinary. These are baseline operations that any company should do to get business.
What's good customer experience?
- Someone answering the phone in a pleasant way
- The company helping a customer out - after purchase
- Customers can find answers to their questions easily on the site or thru a phone call with someone who is prepared to answer his questions
What's the difference between just doing business and customer experience?
- Doing business means that you are doing the bare minimum to get sales.
- Customer experience is going that extra mile beyond the basics to get more money or repeat sales.
Not calling back a lead is in my opinion, plain and simple stupidity - bad business.
Calling back a lead and being unprepared and uninformed about a product is boneheaded - but it really is just a bad customer experience.
We need to stop giving excuses for bad business practices, classifying those problems as bad customer experiences.
- Bad business is people not doing their jobs, causing a company not to be as competitive as it could be
- Bad customer experience is people not doing their jobs well enough to help the company get ahead of the competition. They compete - minimally.
Customer Experience is how you do something - not just doing that activity.
Thoughts? I look forward to hearing your opinions.