Super Customer Experience on the Road of Transparency

Sales and customer service leaders create super customer experience possibilities when they pave the customer’s road with transparency. Poor communication, hidden built in charges, surprise required purchases at the end of the sales cycle risk the sale and damage trust and the brand.

Here’s a story of a recent transaction that damaged the long term customer relationship and 5 ways to ensure this doesn’t happen to your business.

Super Customer Experience on the Road of Transparency Image by:FutUndBeidl

Image by: FutUndBeidl via Creative Commons License.

The Story

A long time customer of a specialty check printing company got an email noting a limited time offer – two boxes of checks for the price of one.

The customer completed all the online forms and then the website gave an error message. It directed her to “Call customer service at 800 …” The rep who answered asked for all the information and then quickly mentioned a $3.95 special handling fee. The customer replied, “you are going to charge me $3.95 because you have to enter this order after the website locked up?” The rep suddenly said, we can waive that for you.

The rep, now speaking even more quickly, noted the total for the order and said “can we deduct that right now from your account”? The amount was not accurate based on the two for one offer so the customer said “no”. The rep noted she had included the fastest delivery so the customer could get the checks right away. The customer had specified free bulk shipping on the website and told the rep that is what she preferred.

The rep quoted another new total and again said “can we deduct that right now from you account?” The customer, now feeling annoyed, once again said no for it wasn’t the correct amount using the two for one offer. The rep reported that the total included $1.85 for a premium register which was automatically included. When the customer told the rep that she didn’t need a premium register, the rep replied that it has to be included.

The customer then said, “This is the worst marketing and THE most manipulative promotional offer and for that reason I’m out. Forget the order.” Customer then hung up. She then decided she will switch companies once she has used up her current checks.

End of story!

5 Smart Business Tips for Super Customer Experience

The irony of this story is the basic arithmetic. It was actually a good financial offer since one box of specialty checks was $20.00. Had the company offered, “Buy one box of checks and a premium register for $1.85 and get a free box of your favorite checks”, the customer would have been thrilled.

  1. Travel the Road of Transparency. Customers today are very aware of their choices. Many find online price comparisons before they pick your website to purchase your product. Because other products are one click away, be clear and transparent about prices to keep them from clicking away to a more trustworthy company.
  2. Market With Gratitude; Don’t Sell From Greed. In the story above, there were so many positive approaches the company could have taken in the promotional offer. “As we approach Thanksgiving ….” or “Here’s a special offer to our long time customers …” Connect the offer to the heart and show what a great financial offer it is!
  3. Upsell With Understanding. Confusing the customer may get you a few sales yet it can lose you many customers who get annoyed and walk away. For example, if you want to encourage higher price shipping, note the tracking advantages and then ask the customer what they prefer. Educated customers buy your offers if your offers are truly great.
  4. Shine With Transparency in All Channels. When customers have trouble with one of your sales channels that they prefer, it’s crucial you shine in the other sales channel they tap. In the story, the customer had two disappointments before she called — her preferred channel (website) stopped working and she now has to use a channel she doesn’t prefer. When she finally gets through to a rep, she experiences confusion, pressure, and the persistent greedy request to deduct the money from the customer’s account right now! Is it any wonder the customer walked away for good?
  5. Thrive in Being Memorable Not Manipulative. Creating memorable moments with the customer in the sale, service, and use of your product or service works every time. It echoes the positive of your brand through social media and personal referrals. It draws customers to you for more of the positive and takes your business far into the future. Manipulation doesn’t draw customers back to you and it echoes the negative to points you can’t even track or measure.

How far do you want your business to go? Are you in it to create a memorable brand that people hold dear and choose every time?

Keeping customers through positive memories costs far less than finding and getting new ones who haven’t read the blogs and social media with reports of murky questionable dealings.

The customers are going to make the decision of what and where to buy. Why not win their hearts with honesty? Something to consider in this age of instant information!

What do you think? Do you have a customer service story of transparency (or lack of it) that illustrates your feelings on this topic?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please first email Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

2 Responses to “Super Customer Experience on the Road of Transparency”

  1. Ivars says:

    Thanks Kate! Great story to learn from. Sometimes non transparency is just lack of communication. I have one story. I had to change 3 heaters at my house. So I called the company and guy on phone booked time and said that each heater will cost 70 euros each + transport cost of 20 euros. No problem, from that moment I had 230 euros put in my memory. Company did everything good, but I had surprise in bill which was in total 300 euros. There was positions included like pipe 3m, 6 stop-valves, unexpected works&costs 3%. I can understand that there will be pipe needed to connect heater, but please tell me before about these additional costs. I would say that sometimes it is better to over communicate than not tell. Of course it is better to have more simple cost structure, but if it is not possible than each cost should be explained and before customer is leaving once more explain all charges and make sure customer understood.

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