How could you NOT know – Tuesday CX Thoughts

Organizational Dysfunction

No organization, large or small, is perfect.  I know some organizations – even some of our competitors – that would claim they are, but they are not.  Otherwise, they would have 100% of the market share.  Even some charitable organizations with the greatest of intentions have flaws.  Some try harder to fix those problems, others try to just cover them up and there are the select few that hope the issues will go away. 

With that context in mind, my intention is not to call out anyone in the service space.  However, a recent experience at a very large chain fast-food restaurant had me wondering in which way they address their issues.  

My local outlet has its quirks – a little local styling, a laid-back attitude, and the occasional supply-chain problem that comes with living on an island that is 4000 kilometers away from our shipping source.  On a recent visit, I made an order on the brand’s app for pickup.  It always has the “in-store” option as not available, so I went with my standard “drive-thru” option.  Upon arriving, however, I found the drive-thru lane blocked off, so I parked to go inside the location (which would be my preference anyhow if that were an option on the app).  

When I walked inside, things got interesting.  I was told I could not pick up my order in the store, only in the drive-thru which I could not access.  I was told I would need to re-order everything with the cashier.  Asking about cancelling my drive-thru order (for which I had already paid), they handed me a pre-written slip (from a small stack) with a phone number on it to request the refund for the purchase they weren’t able to fulfill.  Seems like they’ve been through this before.  

“First Time Hearing About This?”

Despite my observation that this might be a common problem, I had already expected some challenges in getting my duplicate charge removed.  This is where the real fun begins.  I called the phone number that the store provided to me.  While on hold (which fortunately lasted less than 10 minutes), instead of traditional (and usually annoying) “hold” music, I was subjected to a barrage of advertisements about new products and using their brand for my next party.  Upon finally reaching someone, I explained the situation in greater detail than above.  The response:  “This is the first time I’ve heard about a problem like this”.  I was then directed to go online and complete a form to get this issue addressed – and that ended my first call.  

I was shocked to hear that it was “the first time”, but that they also had a process for this – cue my skepticism.  The online form was simple enough until I got to the section where I was to describe the problem.  It requested that I give full details on the concern I wanted them to address, but I was limited to 250 characters. If you’ve ever read an email from me, I have a difficult time keeping it under 2000 characters, and that is even if I’m just answering with approval.  After nearly 20 minutes of completing the form and trying to detail my concern at the length of a tweet, I submitted the form and the confirmation page stated “Your issue cannot be addressed here.  Please call 800-XXX-XXXX” – the same number I called previously.  

This call, my hold time was much longer.  After nearly a half-hour passed and I was connected with someone, I described my issue and the added inputs regarding the online form, after a pause the response was:  “This is the first time I’ve heard about a problem like this”.  This person then said I would need to go online and fill out this form.  When I mentioned that I had already done so and that it directed me to call this number, I was asked to wait on hold.  Upon returning to the phone, the representative stated that they would not be able to help me and that I would need to wait for a response from the form I submitted.  

At this point, I have decided that I’m giving up on getting my $9 back as I’m already losing in my personal break-even analysis given my investment of nearly 45 minutes of time.

 How Will They Know?

While I really do not believe that it is the “first time” they have encountered this problem – especially since they seemed to know exactly what they wanted me to do once I explained it, my bigger concern is for the many others that will undoubtedly come across the same run-around.  I know this company does customer experience surveys, but I did not receive the randomly selected invitation for this experience, nor do I expect that I’ll get one for the other contact touchpoints I engaged with – that is even assuming they measure across the entire customer journey.  

Will anyone know that these problems are occurring?  Will a ticket be raised so that a systemic concern will be fixed, never mind my personal situation?  Is it just part of their organizational response simply to state that this is “the first time” they are hearing about a problem?

A good CX strategy will be more than just implementing a Customer Experience Management Platform for a single touchpoint.  I should be a rallying point for the organization.  The reason a simplistic measure like our QuestionPro NPS+ should be implemented is so everyone has accountability across a common view.  And the use of Closed-Loop Customer Feedback should not be punitive, rather closure on tickets (or the lack of) should be the standard an organization uses to assess efforts to enhance the customer experience.  

For now, I’m just hoping against all hope that the next person that contacts the brand about a problem just like mine doesn’t hear “This is the first time I’ve heard about a problem like this”. 

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