Looking through last years notes I was reminded of a meeting with a large multinational consumer services company, where management was rightly proud of the recently improved level of employee engagement and the subsequent increase in customer retention.  “Our customer service people are very engaged and they are able to manage upset customers much better than ever before.  Our customer attrition is down considerably.”
Certainly, any company that makes improvements in employee engagement and reduces customer attrition, should be congratulated.

We should not forget, however, that great employees are no sustainable match for bad process.
Their ability to calm customers down will last as long as those customers see them as authentic representations of the company’s intentions.
In other words, the company has to “walk the talk.”  – AUTHENTICITY.

As soon as customers feel the company does not DO what it SAYS (“Walk its Talk), the quality of the front line customer service staff
will do little to calm them.

The message is: Engaged Employee can manage the customer experience, but they can’t cover up Inauthentic Processes.

To illustrate this in a real-life situation, I’ll share an experience I had last week.

I received an email from my bank regarding changes to their privacy policy (actual email at bottom of this post)
1. They inform me of changes to the privacy policy – that’s good.
– But they don’t tell me what they are.
2. They give me a way to read the new file – that’s good.
– But it requires a process of finding it, as opposed to giving me a link.

I spent about 5 minutes looking for the file.  I made sure I followed the instructions but could not find it.
I wonder if the file is prefaced with a list of the changes or if I would have to compare the old and the new to understand what changed?

Certainly, if this was an email trying to get me to pay, they would simply provide a link that would make reaching the payment page seamless.

My conclusion after the experience:
The bank tried to make regulatory requirements look like good customer service, but instead showed their intention was not aligned with my best interests.
They failed the AUTHENTICITY test.

Why is all this important?
We have found that customers that are RAVING LOYALISTS of your brand (those that represent the brand in their daily lives – refer friends, defend you in a conversation, speak well of you in general) have certain characteristics:

1. They feel they understand the Purpose and Focus as the brand.
2. As a result of their experiences with the brand, they feel the brand is AUTHENTIC in its Purpose.
3. They feel they have common values with the brand.

Our processes are a tell-tale sign of our intentions and therefore, our AUTHENTICITY.
For this reason, we should always be looking for the processes that have become misaligned with our talk.


Here is the actual email I received

BoAprivacy copy