The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in Broadstripe (1)

Saturday
Jul102010

Corporate Amnesia, Accountability And Service

Should you take out your frustration about a business' failure to deliver service on its employees? I was debating this point today, after the umpteenth time of waiting in a four hour window for the Broadstripe cable company to send a repair man to our house in order to receive HD channels consistently using our TiVo DVRs.  My husband, who is Canadian and who hates to make waves, was clearly on the side of cutting the repairman slack today.  But I only saw another singer in the continuing chorus of Broadstripe employees who think they are problem solvers when they are actually key actors in our ongoing nightmare.  Why are my glasses so soot colored? Because each person who comes to our door optimistic that they can do what others before them haven't does so by assuring us they aren't interested in the past, only in the future.

Sure, it's an easy argument to make that the last guy was incompetent, but the history of continued failure to solve problems is something no single employee wants to own. In fact, the last senior executive of our region who told us he wasn't responsible for the past and "only the future" no longer works at the company.  Consequently, our past conversations and credit promises have also evaporated with him. This provided a helpful cue for the musical refrain sung by Jeff, the repairman who showed up today. "I can't tell you what he promised because he doesn't work here any more, I can only look forward at fixing your problems." Company amnesia about our ongoing record of miserable service appears rampant.

Lack of customer memory also has dramatically degraded the company's troubleshooting ability, and that contributes to our long record of service calls. Rather than tracking past work, and using that to narrow the problem set, the care, repair service and network engineering employees each start from ground zero, which further compounds the problem because no one seems to be keeping a big picture view. Over time, we have been told during different service visits that the repair will require the person to remove switches in our wired network closet, remove several of our DVRs from the network, remove and replace the cable card from the TiVo, replace the underground cable to our house, tune the signal at the junction box at our house, and a few more things I can't even remember.

It seems I am in good company, though, because it appears they can't remember much either. Today's supervisor was unable to even find our TiVo cable cards registered with the service system, despite the fact that the repairmen have been to our house more than a handful of times to address our lack of HD service. "I'm surprised you get any service at all," she commented. What then does she think they have been coming to our house to address all those blocks of time we had to be home when they booked an "appointment?"

Real problem solving only emerges from sourcing the collective tribal knowledge a company has about a customer and their service history. When a company has only short term memory, employees can't do their job. But when multiple employees espouse short term memory as their service "opportunity", beware - you are probably not going to really feel well serviced in the long run.