All too often these days, I keep coming up against inertia. What I mean by this is that in my day-to-day business dealings I all too frequently hear the phrase – “the simplest thing I could do is…..

As a major part of my business is all about delivering training, in how best to provide excellent customer service, I find it extremely exasperating and frustrating when organisations make it so difficult to “do business with them”. All they seem to want to do is put the onus back on the customer to do all of the work.

A recent experience that reminds me of organisational inertia, is when I visited a car dealership to buy a new car. After a few minutes attention, from a somewhat disinterested salesman, I was told that (as they didn’t have a suitable car on the forecourt); “the simplest thing for you to do is to go to our web site and resister your details and we will then keep you up-to-date with any new cars that come on to our forecourt.”

Now, believe this or not, I had actually driven for 30 minutes to visit this particular car dealership and had already made the decision to purchase a new car within the next two weeks. Therefore, I was not best pleased only to be told that the easiest way for me to take things further was to go back home, log onto the internet and register my details in the hope that I may be lucky!

At the time of my visit, to the car dealership, their forecourt was very quiet and the telephone was not exactly ringing off the hook.  Sales of cars have been relatively quiet, as times are tough at the moment, and so you would have thought that they would be keener to sell to me that I was to buy from them.  Sadly; not the case with this dealership.

So I had two options; 1. either complete an online form which would need further time invested by me. Additionally, I often find that online forms can crash and will then reset without retaining any of your painstakingly entered details. Also, the system, in some instances, will not auto populate information such as address or telephone details because it hasn’t been entered in the exact way the form requires it, or 2. take my business elsewhere.  It was not a difficult decision!

In short, the route recommended to me by the salesman was clearly not the easiest thing for me to do.  In fact, it was the easiest thing for a lazy car salesman to recommend as he would not have to take the time to enter me on the database himself.

A related experience often occurs when you telephone an organisation’s customer service department with an enquiry only to be told to log onto their website and check the FAQ section. More often than not you have already done so, and the reason for calling is that you still need questions answered or further reassurance before you purchase. This is absolute laziness on behalf of the organisation and treats the customer with total disrespect.  It’s a wonder that they survive when dealing with customers in this manner.

It’s not difficult to be customer focused, but you have to listen to, and be in tune with, your customers’ needs. Don’t pass the buck and then pretend that it’s the easiest thing for the customer to do.