Everyone, it seems, has a traumatic telco story. Remember the time you spent hours trying to get past the pre-recorded messages, finally spoke to a real person… and then got disconnected? There’s that time you (almost gleefully) switched carriers (that’ll teach them…) just to find the new mob was just as frustrating as the old one. Or remember when they “resolved” that billing query, only to have it pop back up on your next statement? Arrgh!
And service connections? Don’t get me started!
Suffice to say, I’ve been living my own personal telco trauma. It was sometime between the 20th and 28th phone conversation, chasing up the same issue, that I had an epiphany: If I had been told, upfront, exactly what the process involved; if I had known even roughly what to expect, then my level of expectation and with that, my frustration levels, would have been substantially reduced.
When I’m told that all that’s required to hook up broadband is for a technician to come over, then someone else to flick a switch in some exchange somewhere, I trust that it is that simple.
Providing customers or clients with information about the process involved… helps manage their expectations
Whether that sales person realises it or not, I now have a contract – in my mind – with this company. It’s a contract that says, “this is a two-step process that is really quick and painless”. When it turns out to be far, far more complicated than that, joy turns to frustration, disappointment and anger. And that’s when everyone hears about my poor experience.
If, instead of downplaying the process involved to get the sale, someone had taken the time to explain it to me; if I’d been given an outline of the various steps involved; if I understood the logic behind them, I would have been happy to wait it out.
If there’s a ‘take home’ from this maddening situation, it is about the importance and power of sharing information. Providing customers or clients with information about the process involved – whether that is setting up broadband, filling a spectacle prescription, or what is likely to happen postoperatively – helps manage their expectations.
In some cases, a quick verbal explanation will do: “Your friend may have received their spectacles in a few days but the reason why your glasses will take longer is that these particular lenses – which have X/Y benefits, andwe have chosen for reasons A/B/C – need to be sent offshore… so the process is 1/2/3.”
For a more complicated process, or processes involving a naturally high level of emotion, the verbal explanations should be followed up by a written outline of the process, a brochure or other reading material. Many surgeons do this as a matter of course.
Regardless of how the information is delivered, trusting your patients with information about the processes involved in their care provides them with knowledge. Knowledge, as we all know, is power. It is power that can reduce fear, frustration, anxiety and unreal expectations.
Now if only someone would let the telcos in on this…