Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Whether customers like it or not!

I just saw this heading and had to write a quick piece about it - this is the sub-heading of an article in Autocar magazine this week which discusses hybrid powertrains for Rolls Royce cars, but it is the wording of the sub-heading which caught my attention. Why would anyone want to do something which their customers wouldn't like? It is an attitude I have heard from a few people and organisations - this is the way we are going to do this whether our customers like it or not. What a strange attitude - find out if customers like it, and if not, don't do it but if they do, do it! It should be pretty simple really. 

As a brief explanation of the article, Rolls Royce build a prototype electric car and customers didn't like it because of the limited range provided. Rolls Royce dropped the idea but with increasing regulatory pressure it is very likely that to drive in some cities in the future it will be essential to have electric power so the solution is hybrid - electric for short range and petrol elsewhere. It may not be what customers want, but if it is the only way they can use their cars they will probably realise they need it!

Have you ever done something your customers didn't want? If so, why? And did it work?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's the little things which make the diference

When it comes to customer service and building relationships it is often little things which make the difference, something which I experienced recently highlighting this. There are times when I use DHL for deliveries of parcels and so get to chat briefly with the drivers who collect and deliver the packages. I'm a bit late posting this as he has moved to a different area now but the regular driver for my area recently, Jamie, is a friendly guy who always chatted a bit when I saw him. 

Earlier in the year I left my office in the middle of the afternoon and saw Jamie just about to get in his van on the road nearby, he waved as I went past. As I knew there would be no one at the office to sign for a package if he had one for me I thought I had better check so stopped. Jamie got out of his van and came over to me and confirmed that he didn't have anything for me, adding that he didn't have anything addressed to me at home either, but did I need him to collect anything? None of that is a major issue, but the fact that he took time to let me know, was aware enough of what he was doing and also connects my home and office addresses makes a difference so well done Jamie, and thanks for your help. 

Things like this make my life easier, and also made life easier for Jamie as he could sometimes do one delivery either to home or the office rather than doing two. But in terms of loyalty it means that I have good reason to continue using DHL which is good for them.

A little thing which makes a difference to me and DHL - what can you do to make a difference to your customers?