Two personal experiences have made it clear to me that no matter how much brands invest in attracting prospects through expensive advertising, sophisticated digital marketing or the wilder shores of social media they still manage to lose customers at the final hurdle through good, old fashioned stupidity.
To protect the guilty I shall avoid naming the brands in question other than to say that my first experience involved a well-known Scandinavian retailer.
I was trying to complete an order for a kitchen so could have been forgiven for thinking that my attempts to speak to Customer Services, give them an order reference and part with a not inconsiderable amount of money would have been welcomed.
How naïve. Having endured 15 minutes on hold listening to Abba I eventually got through to a human being only to be told that it was not in fact possible to place an order over the phone and that I would have to go back to the store. Alternatively I was told I could indeed place the order online - a process that would involve me data-entering 5 pages of Nordic product names resembling the guest list for a busy night in Valhalla...
(Ironically the hold music was 'Money, Money, Money'....)
Three days later I steeled myself for what I knew would be the painful process of opening a new business bank account. What happened next was less an example of omni-channel than of omni-shambles as I went from playing pass the parcel with the call centre to being greeted with tumbleweed at the 'Enquires' desk of a central London branch and culminating in the grand comedy of the branch staff needing to ask me where they should post the paperwork.
I left and crossed the road to a competitor.
In both cases it was clear that no-one had thought through the customer experience from the point of view of the customer. Had they done so it would have quickly become apparent where a couple of simple changes could make all the difference.
If you are responsible for marketing a brand have you checked recently what you might be doing to lose customers?