Our group is in the business of helping companies find out what their customers expect and then measure how they’re doing at meeting those expectations when customers call. When our group does a Service Quality Assessment to measure service in client call centers, we generally look beyond what the CSR is saying to identify what management decisions, policies and procedures are creating obstacles to customer satisfaction and loyalty. You don’t want to blame front-line CSRs for service issues that are really the result of poor management decisions.
That’s why I’m not going to blame the fine workers at QuickTrip for losing my business. I used to love this midwest convenience store chain. QuickTrip had me as a loyal life-time customer. I would drive out of my way, passing their competitors, to gas up and grab a cup of java at QuickTrip. Their stores are immaculate, the help clean-cut, the service is friendly, and the coffee is even decent for a convenience store.
Then, someone at corporate decided to force me to pay for my gas at the pump. Pay-at-the-pump is no longer a convenience, it’s mandatory. They put a piece of duct tape over the "pay inside" button. "Pay at the pump, Tom. You have no other option."
Ohhhh yes, I do! My option is to take my business elsewhere. Why it made me so mad:
- I usually want more than gas. I want a paper and a cup of coffee. Now I have to make two purchases instead of one.
- My second purchase is usually small, and (call me old fashioned) I don’t want to put seventy-five cents on my credit card.
- They don’t trust me. I realize that people drive off without paying, but QuickTrip punished me for someone else’s crime and made me feel like a criminal.
So, now I go out of my way to avoid QuickTrip. I go to their main competitor. Sure, it’s not quite as clean and the coffee sucks, but they trust me to pay for my gas inside, and they even give me a newspaper when I fill up.
Flickr photo courtesy of Ashleezona