I dropped my car off for servicing this morning. It’s my weekend, and I want to spend as little time on chores quite frankly. I reach the counter of my service advisor and spent no less than five minutes providing information to the advisor and him filling a form with 2 carbon copies, such as my name and contact number. What is more surprising is that he needed to actually write down my car plate number and some other details. What an ineffective use of both the employee’s (writing information they already have on a system) and the customer’s time. It would have been much easier if, at the time of booking the appointment (via the call center) this information, if not there already, is captured, I am given a “soft token” on my phone, through the car dealership’s mobile app, which as soon as I walk in to the service center notifies me of my advisor’s name / counter number, and pops a screen to the advisor with my details, ready to be printed (if at all a printout is required).
Consumer driven industries like airlines are spoiling us: they understood the value of making consumers feel empowered by allowing them to be masters of the transaction time and therefore, of their own convenience and partly, their own experience: I check in to my flight at home either through my phone, laptop or tablet, and then drop my bags at the baggage drop counter therefore reducing the inconvenient wait time.
In the age of instant messaging, always on connectivity, consumers have less tolerance for inefficient processes. A friend of mine working at an IT firm in Dubai actually formally informed his peers about his “email processing methodology”: any email he is put on CC, he will not read and in fact would file under a low priority folder automatically. If people require him to action something, then they better put him on the To line. The point here is consumers are time starved and are pulled in so many directions, companies who truly understand this and “empathize” with their customers are the ones who will be able to garner their customers’ loyalty.
Picture via Mouleesha under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.