Like any consumer willing to accommodate certain processes in order to better service my needs, I’ve agreed in previous months to partake in phone surveys that assist in music selection for radio stations. About every two months, I receive a phone call asking for my participation. And, up until this month, I always agree. However, this past week brought an entirely different scenario.
Whereas the bi-monthly phone requests previously came around 5 o’clock in the evening, for whatever reason, this one occurred around 8 o’clock on a Monday. As many can imagine, this is not an ideal time. Besides the post-dinner clean-up and organization, having two small children with bedtimes inevitably leaves my evenings jam packed. So, though I wished to help out, I kindly declined the request with the assurance that if called earlier in the day—say 5 o’clock—I would certainly participate.
Like clockwork however, as I was putting my kids to bed on Tuesday evening, the phone rang. “Surely,” I thought to myself, “this is someone other than the surveyor.” Yet, to my surprise, it in fact was. Again, I kindly declined with the same assurance as the night before. “Call around 5 o’clock please.”
By Wednesday, the sound of my ringing phone at 8p.m. no longer caused me to snicker in amusement, but instead scoff out of annoyance. When Thursday rolled around, the charade HAD to stop. Calmly I told the caller about my repeated requests for earlier contact. Accordingly, he double-checked his “system” to see if my requests were in fact documented.
“Yes,” he says to me. “We have your request documented right here. 5 o’clock p.m.”
What? How can that be? If my request was actually written down somewhere, why then is my household being summoned at 8p.m.? Turns out, after some follow-up questions, I found out the reason: I live in Indianapolis. The survey group, located in California, operates business three hours earlier! Well, now cleared up, I reiterated my request.
By Friday, there was no doubt in my mind I would receive the call at 5p.m. Not surprisingly, my phone rang at 8p.m.
The problem here is not one of employee competence. It arose due to a poor system and lack of communication. If the automatic call system was set up properly, it should be able to log time zones AND if the callers were properly educated on the system, they would know to either check the area code or ask the caller what time zone they are in PRIOR to setting a preferred call time.
Broken processes inhibit the opportunity for success. They also diminish credibility, customer satisfaction and even participation. If your company suffers from poor systems that lag business, contact our business process improvement methodology consultants. We’ll assist in getting you back on track so you can focus better on furthering business rather than losing it.