Customer Dissatisfaction? Exploring the Hazards of Strategic Misalignment & Flawed Operational Design

Eighteen months ago, I bought a tumble dryer from a leading national retailer. It came with a master service agreement guaranteeing me “the best protection and coverage in the industry.” If it breaks, they’ll fix it; if they can’t fix it, they’ll replace it. Guaranteed.

It’s now been two months since my family has had a working dryer. We’ve had several service visits from subcontracted technicians, but so far,no successful resolution – and definitely no replacement machine.

When I received an email asking me to complete a seventh customer satisfaction survey in as many weeks, I began to wonder if the company pays any attention to customer feedback.

As a business professional, you would hope that lodging several complaints, choosing the “highly dissatisfied” option on six surveys and posting social media comments about the lack of customer service, would elicit some response. Yet to date, I have heard nothing.

Who, if anyone, is responsible for mapping out the company’s customer experience? When designing their “worry-free coverage service plan,” did the business contemplate the cost to the customer of six, 10, even 12 attempts to fix the appliance they purchased?

Despite their grand guarantees, the company doesn’t appear to have considered the inconvenience and expense of having a non-functioning appliance for months on end. In short: Their delivery doesn’t live up to their service promise.

The Importance of Strategic Alignment & Solid Operational Design

So where did it all go wrong? To start with, the organization’s strategic alignment is way off. They have a wonderful service vision: Providing worry-free coverage, a replacement guarantee and experienced technicians. But the company’s vision and mission aren’t being carried out across all service levels; their subcontractors, employees, managers and executives aren’t aligned toward meeting a common goal.

There’s also an issue with the retailer’s decision to send subcontractors to customer homes. Because the service technicians haven’t been aligned with the company’s service vision and aren’t invested in the company’s reputation, they aren’t motivated to find a big-picture solution to the broken dryer. Instead, they merely throw up their hands when I point out the company’s poor service. That lack of buy-in correlates directly to a drop in customer satisfaction.

Serve the Customer, Serve the Company

Customer loyalty is the single greatest contributor to revenue growth and profit. If this company wants to preserve its reputation and protect its bottom line, they need to make several changes:

– Develop an intentional corporate culture that values customer satisfaction.
– Align all team members, including subcontractors, by building an understanding around what is most important to the company and its stakeholders.
– Implement the necessary processes to back up their value statements.

Ultimately, it’s the client or customer, not the provider, who defines service quality. No matter how much this leading national retailer markets their guarantee of “the best protection and coverage,” they still haven’t addressed my broken dryer. Until they do, they have no hope of regaining my customer loyalty; after two months, I’ve had enough of the laundromat.

Empowering Synergy offers expert corporate consulting services that will help you avoid the mistakes this retailer made and ensure your business success.

To learn what we can do for your organization, please connect with me.