Timeliness is everything

It’s almost become a cliché — the world is a smaller place, and we’re moving faster than ever before, thanks to the World Wide Web. Then why is it still taking weeks or even months to complete some customer service transactions?

We can order an item, and post sales and banking transactions electronically. Today, if a transaction takes more than a few days to complete, there is something wrong. As consumers, we are more sophisticated and spoiled, and because we can often get immediate results, we want immediate results in every aspect of our lives.

Executives of large companies are spending more money on technology to increase the speed and accuracy of processes. If your business doesn’t keep up with this dizzying rate of change, it may get left behind in a cloud of cyberdust.

I’ve recently experienced two examples of companies lagging behind that frenetic pace, and as a customer, it hasn’t been pleasant. A large, well-known delivery company delivered my daughter’s stereo to the wrong apartment. The person who signed for it tried to keep it, and when my daughter demanded its return, the person destroyed it.

That was in September. To date, I have not been reimbursed for the stereo, even though the package was insured. I don’t intend to use that delivery service again.

It also took months for an account I closed to actually “close.” I kept receiving statements every month and making phone calls asking why it hadn’t closed. It is frustrating as a customer to be the victim of slow processes. And it is getting harder to understand why any problem cannot be resolved within a matter of days or weeks.

If your company has any process that takes more than a week or two to complete, you’d better look for ways to improve it. Like me, your customers may be frustrated enough to take their business to a company that can turn around a transaction or solve a problem almost immediately.