The Road To Hell...

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 28, 2008 5:14:51 PM

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." - Samuel Johnson

Merely intending to do good, without actually doing it, is of no value.  In customer service, it may even extract value.

As I sat down this evening to do one of my least favorite things (pay bills), I was required from Bank of America that I needed to change my online ID.  While it was an interruption that I would have preferred not to have had, I certainly understand and appreciate the need for security, so I went with the flow.  Needless to say, it did not go as smoothly as I would have liked or expected.

In the midst of my struggle I was greeted with what looked to be a terrific customer service addition (I was even going to blog about it).  A pop up screen offered a live chat sessions from a service agent, asking if I needed help.  Pleasantly surprised, I clicked yes, filled in some information and got this:

How could I get a computer generated offer of help, only to be told, "Whoops."  Here is (yet another) example of a gratuitous effort at enhancing my "experience."  I don't want to sound ungrateful, but I'd have preferred that I not have been offered the help.  I wouldn't have been upset if I hadn't been offered it, as I didn't expect it.

This act is symbolic of the dangerous mantra - Exceed expectations.  Look, stop trying to exceed your customer's expectations and start a) clearly communicating them, then b) meeting them.  If you can create predictability, you create value. And who knows? Maybe even loyalty.

Topics: Performance, B2B Sales Strategy