Saturday, May 1, 2010

very different customer experiences

yesterday, i had two very different customer experiences.

the first was very pleasant - and something that i was not expecting - or rather was expecting it to be much more gruelling. this was about a college admission.

going through the admission formalities, i was prepared for a 4 hour process, as the communication mentioned. the set up was very structured, and well coordinated. right from the security guard, who was very courteous, was aware of the process and proudly explained that there were 4 steps and the as we move from one stage to another, we would not have to retrace our steps.
it turned out that way - well documented steps, with the staff involved knowing not only what they were to do, but also the previous and next steps.
in fact, we were taken on a slight detour of the stages for the counselling step, and were taken to the department instead of the generic institution overview - as, we  were told that there could be overlaps and the time would be more effectively spent if we had that discussion only at the department.

the last step also included a feedback seeking session, where the feedback from the parents and the students was sought - even if only informally.

compare that to a less than overwhelming  experience from an institution that ought to be extremely customer focused - a bank.
getting an account converted from a junior account to a major account exposed the inadequate training to the staff on the process, the documentation required, the next steps etc.
having already made 2 trips to the bank on this activity, i found that even the branch manager was not very well equipped in terms of the wordings of declarations to be provided..
the TV ads from this bank talk about being sensitive to small things - such as wishing the customer who comes to the bank on his birthday - i found that the staff were more preoccupied with their promotion letters than customers waiting for more than half an hour to make deposits.

my hope is that the educational institutions like this one would turn out more customer focussed or customer-responsive graduates that would make a significant difference to the service industry.
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