Don’t you hate it when the holidays come, and the A-Team of whatever it may be – radio show hosts, NPR, WPR, other talk radio and news stations – play their “best of” broadcasts? It is essentially retreads of irrelevant, untimely information.
Of course we don’t do this at the Rant. Instead, this holiday week, I am going to add some recent reinforcement and other timely information in which you are sure to be interested. Guaranteed, or you may need to see a counselor.
Customer Engagement, Take 2
A few weeks ago in Customer Engagement, Get with It or Get Lost, we wrote about meeting the customer where they are or where they like to be.
But first, an ADHD side story by Jeff – One of the things that drove me out of brick and mortar stores was lousy service. I specifically remember a time years ago in Home Depot. Did you see the movie The Shining? I was expecting to see twin girls in dresses show up in the aisle while I looked for whatever it was I was looking. Hellooooo! Anybody home???
Dude, why go to a brick and mortar when nobody is around to help? No wonder they are rapidly disappearing.
Retail and services are rapidly splitting into two camps, and you better be good at one or the other: cheap and easy and less cheap and easy.
Cheap and easy includes online retail like mega competitor Amazon.com. Amazon is brutal for shoppers who know what they want. For me, this includes running shoes and a lot of household products and supplies. Where to compete with Amazon? How about service and expertise, particularly for clothing, shoes, and higher end household products? Don’t make it a pain in the ass for the customer who doesn’t want to run into twins in cyan dresses in the cavernous bowels of a monster store. Or die.
What does any of this have to do with utilities? A lot, especially for energy efficiency programs.
In the post linked above, I mentioned my insurance company, which has awesome service on the back end for claims. However, when I have a question on the front end, let the nightmares begin. For instance, FAQ pages are where great opportunities at YOUR site go to DIE. That’s right, insurance company, and everyone else, I am yelling. If you want me to plow through a myriad of stupid questions from others, you don’t deserve my business.
Airlines, insurance companies, online retailers, and many more, want to do anything but engage with their busy customers before forcing them through a labyrinth of questions with an auto attendant or the same thing with online forms. Imagine the lost productivity of thousands/millions of customers grinding their way through the process wasting minutes, sometimes many minutes, by the millions every day. Someone with a pulse on the other end could cut all that time, but no! Nowadays, it is easy to stand out from the crowd simply by picking up the phone and talking with customers. Easy!
Shareholders Call for Climate Change Analysis
A few weeks back in Paris, the Bumbling Abominable Snow Monster, I indicated and guesstimated that the next generations and technology will likely resolve carbon emissions and any climate change problems. To explain a little further, prioritizing climate change is a social and cultural issue as much as anything, much like acceptance of gay marriage and marijuana legalization. Few people are open to changing their minds. Rather, they dig in with their social clique. What happens instead is generations turn over and new ones become the decision and policy makers. That will happen with climate change.
In the meantime, shareholders are beginning to demand that their companies assess the risks of climate change to these companies. Energy companies like titans Exxon, Shell, and BP are getting some of the most intense heat from shareholders. Shareholders want the risks of climate change and the risk of regulatory burdens quantified. They want to know exactly what will happen.
Good luck with that, especially on the policy side. Policy is mainly driven by emotion, not critical thinking. Remember I say there is no such thing as unintended consequences. There are only intended consequences and consequences resulting from ignorance. Besides, these people need to get a grip anyway. Since when is the stock market ever driven by rational thought? It is entirely driven by emotion and group think.