Friday, October 8, 2010

Communication gap

Rohit Pasricha, the CEO was surprised at the question posed by a fellow traveller sitting next to him on the flight from Seattle to New York. “When was the last time you asked a customer how easy it was to get through to your company?”

“ It never crossed my mind to do so. Why would you ask, I am curious to know,” replied Rohit almost defensively.

“Hi, I am Prasanth Jajodia, and I do angel investing. I was recently approached to finance a company that aims to enhance productivity in organizations in a highly innovative way. I was challenged by this team of youngsters who told me that most CEO’s don’t know how their people come across to their customers. If only the CEO’s focused upon improving the quality of interaction their staff have with their customers, they can gain substantially. Looks like they are right!”.

Rohit was very curious to know more. He waited till the cabin services were over when he asked Prasanth if he could know some more about what the youngsters had found.

“ I am not canvassing for their business. I can get them to talk to you provided you see value in what they have to say. I do not want to waste their time and yours. Not everyone likes to hear what they do not want to hear. Yet, in this case, I believe it may benefit you to hear what they have to say.

Unable to contain his curiosity, Rohit persisted, “ Just give me a hint of what they are talking about”.

“ I do not recall the full details”, continued Prasanth,” but here is a flavor of the communication gaps afflicting large corporations that their CEO’s haven't got the faintest clues about ”.

  1. Punctuality: How many of your staff are ready at the appointed time in their seats ready to go live on time with their customers? Do you know how annoying it can be to be kept waiting? How long do you think customers are put on hold before they hang up frustrated?
  2. Homework: How many of your people, in spite of knowing who they are talking to, are clueless about the status of relationship the customer enjoys with company and what unfulfilled needs she may have?
  3. Market orientation: Most customers who seek to be informed about the future, feel disappointed when the ‘experts’ on phone are so poorly prepared and ill informed about the future. Is the company being run by amateurs, they wonder!
  4. Handling questions: When customers ask a question, they expect a straightforward, ‘black or white’ answer. When the answers are evasive or vague, customers lose trust.
  5. Empowerment: To how many questions from customers will your staff say “I will have to check with my superiors and revert”. And how many of them will revert, if at all, without the customers having to remind them?
  6. Attention to detail: It is so annoying for the customers when the staff at the other end of the phone state the obvious and refuse to get to the bottom of the issue and resolve them
  7. Commitment to revert on queries, complaints and suggestions rarely follows a standard turnaround time commitment. The customers feel tired enforcing a deadline on the staff unilaterally.
  8. Ability to say ‘NO please’ politely and firmly. Most customer refuse to get pleased when your staff try to please them. When, they wonder, will people openly say what they will be unable to do, so that the customers can stop asking and go elsewhere.

Rohit wondered what he should do with this insight he had just now picked up. Guess what he did upon landing?


No comments:

Post a Comment