“Hey, let’s just batch all the letters from campers and mail them to parents on the last day of camp!”
My daughter went to overnight camp this past summer for the first time, on an isolated island. The camp may have done a good job day in and day out protecting her and entertaining her. Who knows? She’s recently entered that age where she doesn’t tell us everything.
The one thing I do know: She wrote home faithfully every day. To her parents, to her little brother, even to her pets.
Camp, however, decided to be what they considered efficient. Instead of shlepping to the mail boat dock every morning, the camp mailed all her letters (6 of them, each in its separate, hand-addressed, stamped envelope) on the last day of camp. The letters arrived home the morning after she did—after a full camp session of her family thinking she’d forgotten us.
Needless to say, we’re not eager to shell out our dough to the same camp again this year. In spite of everything they may have, invisibly, done right for her during the week.
From summer camp to surveys
Now, in a sense the example above is a no-brainer: If you run a camp, you make sure the mail goes out every day to the people who are paying your (admittedly modest) salary. What could be better marketing?
But, in less clear-cut situations, are you similarly cutting your own throat, in your own business?
Most commonly, I discover my new consulting clients batching the company surveys they receive, and responding all at once (if at all), perhaps once a month. This is the flat-out wrong way to do it. The right way? Scan your surveys immediately (I mean the very same day they come in) for any particularly upset customers, or any issue that could value from a timely response. Respond immediately to those customers. Wait ’til the end of the month or whatever is your normal cycle to get your more generic thank you notes out, and to tabulate the data.
Look around your business and see what else could benefit from reducing efficiency… in the spirit of keeping your customers from feeling forgotten.
© 2012 Micah Solomon, author of High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service
“Micah Solomon conveys an up-to-the minute and deeply practical take on customer service, business success, and the twin importance of people and technology.” –Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder
Micah Solomon • Author-Speaker-Strategist • Customer Service – Marketing – Loyalty – Leadership
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