Ask Not What Your Customers Can Do For You…

ask not what your country customers can do for you — ask what can you do for your country customers

What are you doing to provide a more positive buying experience for your customers? How are you practicing customer service?

Last night with the fridge low on groceries and me feeling a little too lazy to figure out what I could put together for dinner I opted for ordering a pizza. mmm…pizza. I called the local Blackjack, which is a chain that started here in Colorado. The pizza is good enough for this ex New Yorker, but I want to talk about how easy they made the ordering process.

Here’s how the conversation went (along with a few thoughts)

Blackjack: Will this be take out or delivery?
Me: Delivery (Remember I was feeling lazy)

Blackjack: Are you still at…?
Me: Yes (Why ask me where I live when they can keep track of it from my last order)

Blackjack: Would you like the same thing you ordered last time?
Me: Not quite. Substitute pepperoni for the mushrooms (Again good use of past orders)

Blackjack: We’ll be there in 30 to 35 minutes
Me: 30 minutes? But I’m hungry now. (I really just said thanks)

By keeping track of past orders and tying them to the phone number, Blackjack made the process of ordering that much simpler. Admittedly ordering a pizza is not the most difficult of tasks, but compare it to the support calls where you’ve had to give the automated system your information only to have to repeat it first thing on connecting to a real person. How do you usually feel after?

Most likely keeping track of orders originated as a desire to better know what toppings customers prefer and which specials lead to the most sales, but once the information was being collected how hard was it to find a new use for the data and how difficult to pull it up with the phone number of the caller. Little things do make a difference and the streamlined ordering leaves you with a better experience that brings you back more often.

Is there a form on your site? Could you pre-fill some of the fields? Could you grab the city and state from the zip code? How many things do you require customers do that you could really do for them? Do you even need the form at all?

The more you do for your customers the more they’ll sing your praise and the more they’ll spread the word and do your marketing for you.

What are you doing to create a more positive experience for your customers?

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  1. Somebody just asked me to recommend a host … or, really, to show the guy what’s necessary to create and publish a web site. In any case, the guy has gray hair, I recommended one with a reputation for good customer service. Sometimes it’s purely the lowest price, but a lot of buying decisions are made on service.

  2. Good customer service means so much, and bad customer service can do so much damage. We’re always searching for ways to make things easier for our customers. From reducing on hold time to almost zero to providing widgets that make ordering or asking question easier, we try to exploit every avenue we can.

    As you pointed out, sometimes it is the simplest things that make the biggest difference. Ordering a pizza generally doesn’t take a lot of time in any case, but automating the process by using past order history makes it just that much easier.

    Since overseeing the customer experience is one of the jobs I have, I’m always trying to learn for my own customer experiences, both the good and the bad. As you learned when you ordered a pizza, your own experiences can do a lot to teach what to do, and what not to do, when it comes to your own customers.

  3. Absolutely Kristine. It’s amazing too how much the smallest of things can make a difference. All told I saved a minute or two on the phone, but not having to repeat all the information made for a better experience. They’ve been doing most of that or a few years, though asking if I wanted the same thing as last time was new.

    Since you’re responsible for customer services what kinds of things have you done and what have you found to be most effective?

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