Honouring One’s Word v Keeping One’s Word
As a ‘graduate’ of Landmark Education I came across many valuable distinctions. One of the most powerful of these distinctions is this one: honouring one’s word. Notice, that honouring one’s word is not keeping one’s word.
When one operates from a stand of ‘honouring one’s word’ then one cleans up the mess that occurs or is likely to occur when one does not keep one’s word. And one does so gladly as one values the other, values the relationship, and values one’s word as one’s self.
Tesco Mobile Honours Its Word After Having Not Kept It
What has this to do with Tesco Mobile? You may remember that it occurred to me that Tesco Mobile had not treated me fairly given the situation I found myself in. And the way that I had sought to work with Tesco Mobile to come to an amicable resolution – one that was fair and worked for both Tesco Mobile and myself. I wrote up my experience in the following post: Why I Will Never Buy Anything From Tesco Mobile Again!
Several days after writing the last post, a helpful chap (Niky McBride) from Tesco Mobile contacted me. We spoke on the phone. And the phone call ended with Mr McBride promising to look into the situation and find am amicable solution for all.
I had my doubts. One part of me expected that Mr McBride would come back and tell me that he had looked into the corporate policy and he could not help me. The other part of me expected that the best offer would be along the following lines: you can terminate the contract by paying up the remaining amount on the cost of the iPhone and this months airtime-data fee.
Instead I received the following offer:
Dear Mr Iqbal
Thank you for your time over the phone today.
As discussed, we are unable to offer tethering on iPhone at present. As a resolution to the matter, we’re happy to:
1. Allow you to return the handset so we can cancel your contract without Early Termination Charges
2. Allow you to pay for the handset so you can keep this and use it on another network that supports tethering
Please let me know which course of action you would prefer so we can bring this matter to a resolution for you.
Niky McBride (Mr)
Customer Service Executive
After consideration, I chose to return the handset and cancel the contract. In part, this was because I wanted to see what my experience would be like if I did decide to return the handset. Would it be easy or difficult? Would I find that despite Mr McBride’s promise, I would find that the right arm didn’t know what the left arm was doing. And so I would find myself charged for cancelling the contract and returning the phone.
The return process turned out to be remarkably easy. I was sent clear-helpful instructions on how to go about returning the iPhone. And on the appointed day-time, the courier turned up to pick up the iPhone.
Somewhat later, I got an email informing me that I would be charged something like £800+ for the early termination of the contract. So that which I had envisaged had come true: the right arm did not know what the left arm was doing! Just as I was about to consider my options, I found myself disarmed with the following email:
Dear Mr Iqbal
I am writing to prevent any concern, as there has been a charge applied to your Tesco Mobile account for the iPhone handset you returned. Please however, rest assured that we’ve asked for this balance to be cleared so you will not be charged.
This email is confirmation that you will not be charged.
Niky McBride (Mr)
Customer Service Executive
Did Mr McBride live up to his promise? Did he keep his word? Here is an extract from the email that I wrote:
Dear Mr McBride,
I have just received my credit card statement and find that you have been true to your word …. I have not been charged by Tesco Mobile.
….. I thank you for all that you have done on my behalf. I find myself wondering what kind of world you-I would find ourselves living in if enough of us were to show up and operate in this world in the way that you have done – in helping me come to an amicable-just resolution……
It occurs to me that a great way for me to repay you is to thank you through a follow up post. You have done right by me. And now it is my turn to do right by you, and Tesco Mobile. If you are in a position to email me a photo of yourself, your team leader, or your team then please do so, and I will include it in the post……
At your service / with my love and gratitude
Does Tesco Mobile Now Offer Tethering On The iPhone?
Allow me to close out this post by dealing with the issue of tethering on the iPhone. Why? It was the lack of tethering that drove me to look to end my relationship with Tesco Mobile.
Two readers have written to let me know that Tesco Mobile is now offering tethering. I am assuming that this means that Tesco Mobile is now offering tethering on the iPhone; they were already offering tethering on other phones including my daughters £60 Samsung phone which made me see red as I had paid £660 for the iPhone 5s 32GB and could not get tethering when I needed it for work.
I cannot say whether Tesco Mobile is or is not offering tethering with the iPhone. My recommendation is to check this before you enter into a contract. Or to check it out as soon as you receive your iPhone. Why? Because you have 14 days to return your phone and cancel the contract. I believe this is a legal requirement when buying stuff via the internet.
What I can say is this: I find myself willing to buy from and recommend Tesco Mobile. Why? Because Tesco Mobile, through Mr McBride, honoured its word to me as a customer. And that is all that I ask of any person-organisation that I do business with: honour your word.
What is the connection between happiness, leadership and customer-centricity?
A lot has been written about happiness. Not much of it speaks to me. And there are some speakers whose speaking resonates with me. Let’s start by listening to a wisdom master:
Happiness is almost not worth talking about because the instant you turn happiness into a goal it isn’t attainable any more. In other words, happiness isn’t something you can work towards.
- Werner Erhard
Let’s follow this up with the following quote which is in alignment with that which Werner Erhard is pointing at:
Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of travelling.
- Margaret Lee Runbeck
Many want what are presented as the trappings of leadership. Few get the reality, lived experience, of being a leader and the exercise of leadership. What is the reality? I’d say it something like the following:
Being a leader and the exercise of leadership is not a destination you aim for or arrive at. Nor is it the path that you take. It is a manner of being-showing up in the world and travelling.
If that sounds a little philosophical for you. Then I share the following with you, courtesy of Shane Parrish at Farnham Street:
.. actually leading is different. A leader decides to accept responsibility for others in a way that assumes stewardship of their hopes, their dreams, and sometimes their very lives.….
It is mostly just hard work. More than anything else it requires self-discipline. Colorful, charismatic characters often fascinate people, even soldiers. But over time, effectiveness is what counts. Those who lead most successfully do so while looking out for their followers’ welfare. Self-discipline manifests itself in countless ways. In a leader I see it as doing those things that should be done, even when they are unpleasant, inconvenient, or dangerous; and refraining from those that shouldn’t, even when they are pleasant, easy, or safe.
- General Stanley McChrystal
I’ll leave you with my take on customer-centricity which is manifested in many ways including creating-generating customer experiences that leave customers feeling happy, even delighted, in doing business with you:
Customer-centricity is not a station you arrive at. Nor is it the path that you travel. Customer-centricity is the manner of your showing up (in the world) and travelling.
I wish you a great day. And on this first day of a new year of living for me, I thank you for listening to my speaking. Your existence makes a contribution to my existence. Let’s work together to co-create a world that works for all.
Q: What Is The Cause Of This Customer Interaction Turning Out As It Turned Out?
Do you have an avid interest in designing-conducting research, eliciting-capturing requirements, listening to the voice of the customer, or designing customer experiences? If you have this interest then I invite you to help me solve the following customer experience puzzle:
Last week, while on an average holiday shopping trip, my mother and I decided to stop by Starbucks to get a quick snack…..
When we got up to the counter, my mother placed our simple order, at which point she asked for a “tall” cup of two percent white milk. This is how the conversation played out:
“Mocha,” said the barista.
“No. Milk,” my mother repeated.
“No. Two percent white milk.”
….. I attempted to withhold my personal thoughts. Milk. You know, that white stuff you pour in the coffee? Yes, well, we want an entire cup full of that. Minus the coffee, of course.
Our barista proceeded to ask if we’d like the milk steamed, but we opted for cold. (They steamed it anyway.) Eventually, we managed to get our order straightened out, but not without a few stifled giggles.
I ask you to put your intellect and expertise into action. Please consider the situation and give an answer to the following question: What is the cause of the mismatch between the customer’s request for “milk” and how Starbucks responded to the customer’s request?
Why it is worth spending time on this puzzle? Because we are grappling with that which lies at the heart of making sense of the customer’s voice and sound experience design. It is also the reason that so many systems, including CRM systems, disappoint customers even though the designers are convinced that they have listened to the customer and designed the system to meet the customers needs-requirements.
What Explanations-Interpretations Have Been Put Forth To Date?
To date, I have come across two ways of explaining-interpreting that which occurred between the customer and the Starbucks staff. Allow me to share these with you.
The author of the story (Anna Papachristos) explains this breakdown in communication (and the resulting experience) as follows:
I’m not sure what was more baffling–the fact that no one in the coffee shop listened, or that they’ve become blissfully unaware of the basics. I understand that Starbucks stands as a status symbol more than anything, but have we really distanced ourselves from the simple things in life that badly? This barista’s mistake may have been the result of a random miscommunication, but her confusion was nothing short of hilarious.
Don Peppers in his post (How To Deal With Customer Variability) sees the same situation in terms of variable customer needs-behaviour coming up against standardised processes and operations:
Starbucks, like the roadside diner and any other business, tries to maintain quality and control costs by standardizing processes and operations. Routine tasks, if they can’t be automated, are at least handled in the same way by every employee.
But customers are all different. They want different things – different sizes of products, different delivery dates, different specifications for services, and so forth.
Variability like this is something Frei and Morriss call “customer chaos,” and they suggest it can be managed in two basic ways: either by eliminating it, or by accommodating it. If you choose to eliminate variability, you will generate more efficiency. If you choose to accommodate it, you will generate better service.
My Take On This Interaction?
p>I do not find myself in agreement with the author (Anna Papachristos). Nor do I find myself in agreement with Don Peppers. I propose to share my answer to this customer interaction puzzle in a follow up post – hopefully after some/many of you have put forward your answers by commenting.