From my honest declaration comes the topic for today's post: Honesty.
Are you honest? At home? At work? In your company's programs?
Ah, got you there on the last one. How can company programs be honest? If you deliver what you advertise, isn't that honest enough?
Obviously, your products and services should be truthful, but having policies and systems "act" honest is more difficult a concept.
Imagine this not-so-made-up scenario. You have internet service that has been canceled, so, the final bill is inbound shortly. Upon receipt, you find it is quite incorrect in its amount, so a call is in order to the customer care number. After too many menus, recordings, and hold times (those are different topics altogether), a representative comes on the line to assist you with your problem. The call goes great! The representative notices the error, punches in some keys, explains how it is resolved, and that you should be seeing results shortly. They even put a notation in your account so if you have to call again, someone else will see!
Honest. Clean. They made a mistake, unfortunately (which should never have happened), but they acted to resolve it without problem.
Fast-forward a month. In the mail, you receive an envelope from the internet service provider. Thinking it is the revised final bill, you open it, only to find it is actually a past-due notice with the unadjusted amount! Another call, and the number you are told to call only works for accounts in another state. Ok, you're transferred, more menus, more recordings, and finally…another representative! They then explain that all is well, the account is notated properly (thanks previous representative!), but the system automatically sends out the notices no matter what.
Let me repeat that: The system sends out the notices…No. Matter. What.
You can have the greatest employees, most awesome products, and unparalleled reliability. But the moment something goes wrong (it eventually will), your carefully-automated process exasperates the issue.
So the message? Make your systems as honest as your team. Take the time to ensure nothing is automatically sent to customers that may contradict what they have been promised. Maintain a degree of control so you can intervene if necessary.
Automation is incredible. Just keep it all in line with your company's values and goals.