My recent experiences lead me to believe that companies are sacrificing customers for the sake of their “improved” policies.
Experience #1: The process in place at my local car dealership involved telling me of their diagnostic fee ranging from $120-$160 when I took my car in for service. My car was under warranty. Evidently, it did not matter that I would not be charged this amount or the fact that I spent $1,600 there the week before; it was their practice to inform me the fee existed. Really? They’re fired!
Experience #2: I recently visited a well-known drug store in the hopes of quickly getting some prescriptions filled. I specifically frequent this chain because of its 24-hour drive-through service. However, upon pulling up, I was informed that my order wouldn’t be ready for over an hour. But, if I hobbled into the store, the order would be ready in 15 minutes. Really? They’re fired!
Experience #3: When waiting at a large (mostly empty) restaurant for the rest of my party, the hostess told me I could not be seated until my entire party of three arrived. I decided I wanted a beverage while I waited and asked the hostess if I could be seated as a party of one. She informed me I couldn’t because I already told her there were three in my party. Really? They’re fired!
Experience #4: Upon leaving a home-improvement store, I realized that they had not charged me for a $23 item. I went back into the store and pointed out the mistake (which was in their favor!). They expected me to either lug the item back into the store or retrieve the same item for scanning. Really? They’re fired!
I am symbolically firing companies right and left. By doing this, I am no longer doing business with them. I can’t imagine that companies want to lose business, but that’s exactly what they’re doing when they make processes, rules, and procedures that don’t benefit the customer.
What about your processes? Are they in place for a good reason or because they have always been in place? After all, process is just a fancy word for rule or policy. But customers are kings. And rules are made to be broken. So if your processes aren’t affecting your customers in a positive way, it’s time to rethink them. That is, unless you’re looking to be fired.
It can happen. Process improvement that positively impacts your customer and your bottom line does exist. And, in that case, I’m not a process hater. I’m a process lover.