Monday, December 12, 2011

Customer Service in Telecommunications?

By Pascal Dennis

Health care horror stories come to late every day.

Infections, mis-medications, even wrong site surgeries are, tragically, common-place.

A health care leader recently said, "Hospitals are no place for a sick person!"

Does any other industry provided this level of customer service?

Here's a candidate - TELECOMMUNICATIONS.

My recent telco experience, trying to upgrade my cell phone, reflects business processes that might've been "designed" the Three Stooges.

I won't bore you with the sorry details. Suffice to say, it should have been an easy two to three step process, with a lead time of a day at most.


Lead Time: 1 day

Number of process steps: 3


Lead time: 10 days & counting

Number of process steps: 20 & counting

Most of the process steps are on the customer's end, of course...

We've all had similar experiences? What's the root cause - in telecommunications and health care?

In chapter 11 of The Remedy, the protagonist, faced with a near catastrophe to a family member, settles on the following root cause:


Health care organizations in the U.S. Canada perform the way they do because the patient is NOT the customer

Usually, the Payer is the customer, be they Medicare or a private insurance provider.

And the Payer's definition of Value, does not coincide with that of the Patient.

Similarly, my telecommunications carrier is one of Canada's biggest providers and until recently had a near monopoly.

They don't care about the customer because, as a monopoly, they didn't need to care.

Now that Canada has a measure of competition in the industry, one can expect their market share to fall.

(Sadly, seems the new industry entrants are, so far, as bad as the incumbent)

What's the lesson for people in the transformation business?

Socrates said, "Know thyself."

Know your customer too - and what they value.

Otherwise, you'll miss the mark badly, and might even generate the customer's disdain.

As for my telco providers - a pox upon their houses!


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