flat world

make it easy

Doug Shaw over at Stop Doing Dumb Things to Customers ran a post yesterday called “A Little Enthusiasm…” about his frustrations with businesses that didn’t seem to care when he was trying to pay them. It clearly struck a nerve with folks and generated plenty of comments as people joined in and shared similar frustrations.

It’s a shrinking world and the consumer can buy from almost anywhere. I discussed this back in February after purchasing mountain bike parts from a shop in the UK.

We all know the world is getting smaller, so it’s interesting how many businesses haven’t gotten the message yet. My wife and I both purchased cars in the past couple of months and had very different experiences. The dealer I bought from did ok, but was still stuck in the mindset that their cars are somehow special. I live within three hours of two of the biggest metropolitan areas in the US – no car is so unique that I can’t find it sitting on a lot relatively close or have it ordered in. When my wife was looking, they irritated her so much she kept right on looking.

My wife eventually purchased from a small town car dealer about an hour away. Here’s what they did right: they were patient as she test drove at least six cars, they were low pressure, they called back when they said they would, and when she told them that it would be several days before she could return to complete the deal they brought the car to her with all the correct paperwork including a generous trade-in on her old car made sight unseen. She signed some papers, swapped cars, and was on with her life in less than 30 minutes. They made the deal happen by making it as simple as possible for her to buy.

But wait, there’s more… My wife’s car is the same brand as mine. Guess where my car’s getting serviced from now on? So, my dealer screwed up selling to a RETURN customer, lost out on a SECOND sale, and lost out on all FUTURE maintenance/service business (where the profit margins are much higher than in car sales).

Businesses scream and yell for innovation, yet ignore that some of the most innovative products and services simply make it easy to buy and make it easy to pay. Strive for the example set by Amazon.com. Intuitive site, one click purchasing. It doesn’t get easier.

HR spin

How easy is it for HR’s customers to complete transactions? How simple and painless is it to submit an application? How easy is it for hiring managers to understand the process and have all necessary paperwork in hand? Do document instructions make sense? Etc. etc. etc.

If your HR department’s customers had to pay money for HR’s products and services, would they? Could they? Would your HR department be the vendor of choice or would your customers get frustrated and go elsewhere?