Tuesday, June 29, 2010


A few days ago my neighbour asked me to help him with the installation of his new laptop. After asking him some (technical) questions, it became clear to me that he had never owned a pc/laptop before. He just had a brand new laptop and he thought that he had bought internet access three years ago from his telco provider.

Yes, this can still happen. Not all elderly people are used to this kind of technology. Besides the laptop he had also purchsed new anti-virus software.
But......... the salesrepresentative never asked him whether he needed help with the installation. Neither did he offer him trainings on how to use a laptop and the relevant software.

By not offering these services he missed a revenue opportunity and he did miss a chance to build a great customer relationship. Also you must never assume that your customer kows how to use your product. Always ask if you are not sure.

This is even more the case when selling a cell phone. When I talked with my (retired) golfingbuddies, none of them had any idea how to use the internet on their cellphone. And they barely knew how to make a phonecall. When I suggested not to use dataroaming abroad they  had no clue how to block that on their phones.
Again, agreat opportunity to sell extra service and to have happier customers.


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Tuesday, June 22, 2010


There is a lot said and written about continuous improvement. But most of it is done from a process perspective, for instance how to speed up processes, how to make them cheaper or how to make them easier.

That is fine, but still a major area is missing – the people, the relations side. This covers the relationship between (individual) employees and their managers. And also the relationships in teams. Employees should be encouraged to discuss with their managers, how the managers themselves can improve their behavior, their style, and their communications. This requires courage, trust and openness on both sides. If this is accepted and applied you will find that there will be many areas of improvement, which will have a huge positive impact on the atmosphere, motivation and culture in the organization.
Also within teams it is important to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Only if they are openly discussed you can create a team which operates like a team. Then you will clearly see where the individual team members are complementary to each other. An example is the football teams in the World Cup now. Does a team consist of mainly ego’s who only go for their individual goals (France, England) or is it a real collective force where everyone plays his role to support the team (The Netherlands, Paraguay)?

A prerequisite for being really open to each other is to have self-respect as well as respect for the others.
Is openness a natural practice in your organization?


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Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Recently the battery of my iPhone was no longer working, so I did go to the retail store to have the battery replaced. I assumed that I had a one-year warranty, so I could easily get it done. Wrong! The guarantee on the battery is only 6 months and it was 7 months since I bought the phone. They suggested using my insurance to get it fixed. It would cost me € 30,- and that was fine. Especially because they told me that it would only take a few days to repair and in the meantime I would receive another iPhone as a replacement. I thought this was a good deal....

Then I did call the insurance to collect my phone. I checked the statements from the retailer. And I did get a complete different story; they said that the repair would take 3 to 5 weeks and that there was a waiting list for the iPhone of more than 50 people.
Well as I had no choice (I couldn’t appropriately use the phone any more), I registered to put the process in working. So, after 2 days they were supposed to collect my phone between 8 am and 12 am. This long period is already very unfriendly to customers, especially when you are alone at home. As nobody showed up, I called them at 12.10 and they said that the guy was on his way and that it would take another hour. When he arrived he asked me whether they had informed me proactively about the delay. The answer: no. And I was not ‘happy’ with the process.

It took them 3 weeks to completely replace my phone with another one (as it could not be fixed). This time they said they would return it between 2 pm an 6 pm. So, guess what...... he showed up at 1.50 pm.

From a service perspective there are quite some learnings here:
-       As an insurance company the quality of your product is proved when the event happens for which you concluded the insurance. So, make sure that the service is great and meets your expectations and from the customers.
-       Inform your retail channel about the correct and actual service process.
-       Update your customer when you cannot stick to your commitments.
-       Plan your visits in timeframes of ½ an hour.
-       Check whether the costs of your service delivery process are calculated accurately in the pricing process.
-       Remember that a bad experience has a huge negative impact on your brand and ultimately your profit.

So, even for a relatively simple service you have to design the service with the end-user in mind and document all the touch points.


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