Bugs, Hiccoughs, Flaws, and Foibles

At least 25% of my day today was spent dealing with things that don’t work. From buggy computer programs to inane telephone service to flawed websites, this day was filled with This Is Broken signs. I can’t begin to tell you all the truly bad Customer Experience I had to deal with today. It was painful.

At some point I started musing on this trauma. What I wouldn’t give to have someone deal with this for me….

Well, come to think of it, there probably are several ways I could pay someone to deal with this stuff for me, including handing piddly work off to someone else, or if it’s a constant issue, adding staff or outsourcing. There may even be small businesses hoping to catch some of the “don’t you wish your life were easier” crowd.

Would I pay money to have these problems whisked away?

No, probably not. Why not?

I think I’m awesome enough to handle these situations

I don’t see how many problems there will be at the start

By the time the scope of today’s issues is obvious, I feel I’ve invested too much of my time to let go of control

Though my time is worth a good amount of money, I find it easier and quicker to part with the time than to explain to someone else how to solve my problems

I see today’s issues as temporary and attached to today (when in reality I may spend 5% or more of my time every single week dealing with similar problems I could have someone else fix)

I’m cheap (in terms of business expenses)

So some problems, I solve by messing around until I find the solution. Some, I solve by searching the Internet for answers. Some, I solve by politely, painstakingly, making my case again and again on the phone until I am speaking with the person who can make things right. Some, I decide aren’t that important and I let them go unsolved.

What’s the Maximum Customer Experience lesson here?

If you’re in business, you need people in pain like I was today, whether the pain is “I need to drive this nail into my wall” (solution: hammer) or “I can’t get UPS to listen to me” (solution: hammer for my head? or FedEx?).

You need people in pain.

The problem is, a lot of people in pain don’t want to need you. They’ll muddle and suffer and give up. I’m not talking about losing out after a presentation, I’m talking about never getting asked. Maybe you’ll flit through their mind, maybe you aren’t yet top-of-the-mind and they won’t think of you until after the problem is solved (or ever!). It’s a dilemma for people in every type of business.

Your goal is to create and promote a Solution that addresses the reluctant customer. That guy with the “why not” bullet points, (s)he’s your classic reluctant customer.

Two ways to talk to the reluctant customer:

Show that the pain is greater, more acute, longer lasting than the prospect believes;

Make your Ideal Solution seem smaller, easier, quicker, cheaper than existing solutions.

Turning those “why not”s upside-down is how you do it. Can you show me I’m not awesome enough? That fixing one problem on my own may uncover a dozen more serious problems? That D-I-Y won’t fix the long-term issues? That you’re easy, quick, not as expensive as using my time and limited expertise to deal with things myself?

Ever get stuck fixing a time-suck problem, and wish you could pay someone to deal with it?

Think about it now—if you really wished that, you could have.

So if you chose to fight it out yourself, what were your reasons? What can you add to our “why not” list?


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson