Strolling into an AT&T store to get a wireless card for my mac last week, I knew what I wanted. I knew where it was. I saw it from the front door. But, seeing and doing are two different realities at the AT&T store. Blind luck brought me face-to-face with a sharable lesson in final moment messaging: a tangible branding experience.
In order for me to give AT&T the money tucked in my pocket for the merchandise I could plainly see on their shelves, I was forced into signing in and waiting for a customer service rep.
“Why can’t I just go get it, ” I ask.
“We’re required to have you check in first,” the concierge tells me.
“But, it’s right there. I know what I need. I see it.”
“You need a representative to help you.”
A pitched battle between irritation and intrigue raged in my head while waiting. What careful training did this rep have? What qualifications did it take to lead me over to what I could already see? Maybe I should go home and get it online. Nah, I hoped it would be worth the wait. It wasn’t. When (name omitted for his own good) finally–and unapologetically–got around to me ten minutes later, he dutifully misdirected me to the WRONG air card for my Mac.
By the time he figured it out and then escorted me to the register, carrying the box instead letting me do it, my quick stop morphed into a 30-minute ordeal of customer service obstruction; if the store was aiming to hit metrics, they had no bearing on my satisfaction. It’s carnival logic: somewhere, someone decided, you must jump this high to ride the spend-money-with-us ride at AT&T.
A week later, my case cracked. Time for a new one. Guess where I didn’t go.
It’s about you or it’s about the customer. Metrics that provide management controls like AT&T’s probably work at cross-purposes with true customer satisfaction. There’s one foundational metric: conversion friction. Specifically, how much friction must a customer overcome on the way to conversion. Any metric that increases friction is taking you the wrong way.
Learn about decreasing friction in customer conversion. Read Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg. Their web conversion wisdom applies equally well to sales by phone and at retail. Learn how you can lower the bar over which customers must jump to spend with you. Amazing things happen when you make it easier for people to spend money with you.