Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Owning The Problem

A few weeks ago, I was on the Kodak Gallery site ordering copies of pictures of my children for the 5 sets of grandparents. I wanted to simply pickup these items at my local CVS store based on the service promise of one hour pickup. I thought this was a pretty straight forward / no frills transaction. WRONG

It took me 2 drop ins to the CVS store, 5 calls, 3 different front line employees and some aggravation to get this simple order completed. On my first attempt, the young woman could not find the order in the system or in the store so I went home and realized I had to click on a button at the bottom of the shopping cart page. So, my bad but the site experience did not make sense.

Once I completed this, I waited and called CVS to make sure they had the order in the system. The young man on the phone saw the order but then proceeded to tell me that it would take 3-5 days because the order was being completed at a Kodak site and I would then have to come back in and pick it up. When I told him that the online transaction promised 1 hour in store pickup, he told me to call Kodak.

This is where the entire experience went downhill. Why should I call Kodak? This is a partner of CVS so my expectations would be that the front line team at CVS be empowered to own my problem and contact Kodak to resolve this issue.

Of course I called and a nice, but fumbling and not all that smooth of a call center professional assumed the responsibility and was able to get my order ready to be picked up. So Kodak absolutely recovered the situation but shame on CVS for not owning the problem.

Owning the Problem means finding a solution. Not every solution will be met with joy but it is a solution so ensure that you do not leave your customers hanging. Give your customers the rope and pull them back up.

Lessons Learned

  • Teach your front line, no matter what their age, experience or pay level that they must own every customer problem. This is their job and if they do not exhibit these behaviors, it will be only a matter of time that their lack of support will be seen by management. This means that the the job profile, interview and training process must include and encourage this behavior.
  • Use examples of solving the problem as stories for great service experiences. Highlight these in staff meetings, focus groups with the front line and in all forms of communications. 
  • Surprise reward when possible. When seeing or hearing of a great experience, give a small reward and make a big deal about. 
  • Use customer complaints as a learning tool rather than a form of punishment. 
  • Teach empathy and patience to get through any problem.

Of course, not every good or bad experience will be known to the leadership team but the more aware the organization is of the impact of just one "owning the problem" experience, the chances are the staff will see this as part of their job function.

So I obviously will not be going back to the CVS in Springfield, NJ for my photo needs if I can help it. Kodak Gallery should spend some time training their partners on how to treat situations like these. 

I did not have time to do a CX Factor Score but I will and I am curious about what I will find with regard to this particular CVS store and the overall experience of Kodak Gallery users with the in store pickup experiences they have.

Take note Kodak!!

The Customer Experience Factory

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