Are You Blocking Customers From Doing Business With You?

Are there obstacles in your organization that are preventing your customers from being satisfied?

Case in point, Bob, a client of mine who is a small business owner, has his company mail delivered to a PO Box at the local Post Office. Because it is a PO Box, he is supposed to be able to have access 24 hours a day to the box. Once, he arrived at the Post office at 5:30 PM only to find the doors locked. He called the Post Office to find out why the doors were locked and was told that the doors are locked between 5:30 and 5:35 PM to break the line for customers trying to send packages.

This makes absolutely no sense. What this means is that the Post Office was trying to make their life easier by locking doors preventing customers from trying to get in “just in time.” By doing so, it prevented those customers using only the post office boxes from having access to a service not even impacting those behind the counter. They were completely oblivious to the fact that the customers need to have access at all times. Five minutes may not seem like a lot of time, but it is if you are forced to wait around that long, knowing that there are people inside preventing you to get

Well, Bob tried to argue his point, but to no avail. He even went so far as to speak to the Post Master for the state, but they would not accommodate him. Life went on and Bob scheduled his trips so that he would miss the 5 minute window of the doors being locked. If he happened to arrive when the doors were locked, he was forced to wait around for the doors to be unlocked again.

Last week, Bob’s cell phone told him the time was 5:26 PM when he went to the door of the Post Office. The door was locked. He even had a postal worker who was unloading the mailbox nearby verify the time for him. Bob called the State Post Master again to state his case and told him about the doors being closed early. He stated that it was ludicrous that the doors were locked even earlier and that he would be standing around for almost 10 minutes before the door would be opened again. All this frustration just to get to a PO Box that the counter staff didn’t have to work with at all.

After much consideration, the Post Master called Bob to inform him that the doors would no longer be locked from 5:30 – 5:35.

This is a clear case of putting up obstacles to make the lives of the employees easier and putting the needs of the customer second. The customer is driving the success of your business. The satisfaction of the customer trumps any inconvenience you may experience. If there is an issue, find another way to resolve it that does not negatively impact the customer. In the case above, the easily could have put a barrier such as a rope or a sign indicating that the counters were closed. Instead, they were short sighted and put their convenience first.

Take a look at your processes in your organization to determine if there are any obstacles that you have in place. Do they truly serve a purpose that benefits your customers? If not, eliminate it and find another way to accomplish the same goal. It’s good customer service to consider the needs of your customer and work with them, not against them.

Your customers will thank you for it.

2 Replies to “Are You Blocking Customers From Doing Business With You?”

  1. Another obstacle I see often is the “roped-off” area at restaurants. It’s most common before or after the usual meal times (3 p.m. for example). I guess the idea is to keep certain areas clean and make it easier for the servers, but what if I prefer to sit near the window or need additional privacy for a meeting? “I’m sorry, sir, that section’s closed.” #broken

    Ken Trupke says:
  2. If companies would just map out their customer service process to see where it goes wrong they could start to eliminate those areas. I see so many obstacles to Customer Service in the many industries where you have to call in to customer support and u get passed around via VM systems and no one will take responsibility to to get you want you need.

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