Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Contrast of Value & Service

It's been an interesting 10 days or so in the realm of experiencing customer service. The vast space between these realities fascinates me. What do you find in these spaces?

My experience started with attempting to place a cell-phone call to my best friend. That call was invisibly re-routed to Verizon account services. I've been crazy-on the phone lately, and knew it was time to change my plan, just getting to the store to get that new phone model, and up the plan has been a real challenge.

I was definitely some annoyed when I landed in the Que for Verizon rather than on my friend in Florida's phone! The gal who answered was nice. So I heard something amazing. Verizon offered to change my plan to one that more met my usage--and back-date that change to cover all the extra minutes I accumulated. Huh? Really? You'll do something to save me money?

Sure, maybe this was driven by loosing customers, feeling that collecting in this market is pointless any how or some related business idea. And as a consumer, I did not in that minute care a fig WHY they would do this for me. Technically, they "lost" money on the offer. And boy was I happy to agree to the change and pay the difference between my old plan and the new one for two months. Big deal! And so far, so good.

But then, the complete opposite happened. I decided to experiment and try the new McCafe coffee thing. I have a local coffee shop I adore--and some days I'm simply too closely scheduled to fit in the extra mile or so into my route. So I pulled in, ordered my latte, paid my surprisingly low fee, and drove to the next window. Where someone hands me an iced coffee.

I said "NO!" that's not what I ordered. They conferred and a manager-type person came back and clearly instructed me that a latte cost more, but this time they'd accommodate me. I pretty much just blew it off--I felt my order had been clear, and okay, it worked out.

That was last week. Well, I ended up back there today. This time I ordered a HOT vanilla Latte. I said the word "hot" a couple times to make sure I was clear. It was more money than I expected this time, but pulled around, paid it, and moved on.

And of course...I was once again handed an iced coffee. By the same manager I'd talked to last time. I started laughing! I said, "Hey, we did this last time I was here. I specifically said 'hot'--I really did order a vanilla latte this time." Well, she conferred again this time. When she came back, she was shaking her head and fixed me the drink I asked for.

While in all three instances I got what I wanted or something of benefit. And how I view the value of what I got is vastly different. That's the key: the surprise of one vs. the difficulty of getting what I ordered on the other hand meant I created a completely different perception of value in my world.

So how do your clients value what you do? What can you do to increase that perception? What are doing that limit your perceived value?

If you want to know more, let me know! We can schedule a Complimentary 20 minute discuss about increasing your perceived value.

Wishing you Success & Heart,
Heidi Sue

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