“No one ever bought a ¼ inch drill bit because that’s what they really want,” wrote Harvard business professor Ted Levitt. “What they really want is a quarter inch hole.” And, what customers would really like to do is snap their fingers and get a ¼ inch hole… just like Captain Kirk could do on Star Trek. But, they have to deal with the process of getting a hole.
“Getting a Hole” process means getting in the car or truck, going to the hardware store, locating a parking place, finding the drill bit section, dealing with the cashier, coming home, finding the drill, finding the drill chuck… just to get a hole. No one asks for the service process… they want to skip it all together. Can you imagine a customer saying, “I don’t really need anything; I just came by to see if you had some forms I could fill out.” Or, “I don’t need a thing; just called up to see if you could put me on hold.” Again, customers want to skip the process; yet, that’s what they talk about!
Service resilience is a vital feature of innovative service. It means service people focusing on the solution and not on the task. It is hanging in there until the customer is happy with the result. Like, the jewels inside a kaleidoscope that never change despite the colorful charm they produce, service resilience is caring enough about the customer plus product or service excellence! And, that reminds me of Shwetha at HP.
Shwetha is a support tech operator for Hewlett Packard. And, her resilient style, behavior, and “never give up” words clearly display her devotion to the HP brand she fronts and the customer she serves.
I had purchased a new MacBook Air laptop that was souped up with Windows 10 and Office 13. While I have a new HP color printer, my old, reliable workhorse printer is a monochrome HP LaserJet P2015dn. Not only is this printer a veritable antique as printers go, it has been out of warranty for years. I was only able to find a universal printer driver for my new Mac laptop to talk to the printer. It allowed me to print, but not print front and back like the printer did with my old laptop. I finally surrendered and gave HP Technical Support an evening call.
I hit the jackpot! I got Shwetha! She was warm, clear, and patient. She informed me that since my HP printer was out of warranty there would normally be a charge for her technical services. But, she really wanted me to have a good experience with my HP and was willing to help me without a charge. We began troubleshooting. She was noticeably passionate about the product and my success with it. After numerous tests, and what seemed like an hour of due diligence, we learned I had not checked the proper computer port in my printer setup. With that, she made it work perfectly.
Now, let me ask you a question. If you really, really loved a product or service, you would want to make sure it was delivering perfectly, right? Shwetha closed our conversation with, “May I call you back tomorrow just to make sure you are happy with how your HP printer is working?” Let me remind you this was a free call on an out-of-warranty product, a call driven solely by the deep brand and customer allegiance of a call center tech rep. It was as if my old printer had actually been crafted by Shwetha herself. The next day she called just as she promised. And, her love affair with HP got passed on to me. I would never own any other brand!
The customer knows you care when you go the distance on their behalf, when you refuse to stop until the customer is happy, and when you demonstrate the customer (not the cash register) is the center of your work world. It takes dedication and devotion.It takes service resilience.
Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and the author of several national best-selling books. His newest book is the just-released Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles. He can be reached at chipbell.com.