Operating On Your Personal Assumptions Can Be Dangerous
Not long ago, I had a somewhat tenuous conversation with one of our suppliers. I said to him that it was too long for him to call me back. This time it took three days. His response was, "I called you back the same week. That is not good enough? "
No! It's not! That's not what good service, at least for me, is about. But, that's not what this lesson is really about. It is actually about this guy's assumption that three days would be acceptable response time. The key word here is assumption.
This reminded me of a roofer I wanted to fix my leaky roof. He had come recommended by a friend. I called him and he said he would come out in a few days to have a look. As long as we did not have a major downpour, that would be fine. I did not know what to do for a week, so I decided to check out my roof. His exact words were, "Do not worry, I'll get around to it."
A week later, I called him again. He gave me the same answer, "I'll get around to it." By that time, I realized his definition or "getting around to it," was different than mine. So, I called another roofer. He told me exactly when he would be able to come out, which was in two days.
Several days later, the original roofer called me back to let me know he would be over the next day. I gave him the news: I'd be hired someone else.
He said "Okay" and hung up the phone. He did not ask why. He did not even seem to care. All I know is that he never "got around to it." His assumption that I'd be waiting for a couple of weeks with a leaky roof, worrying if it would rain and start leaking again, did not measure my expectation.
In both of these examples, the personal assumption that each of these people had was not in sync with mine. In both of these cases, it was about time. Specifically, how much time I was willing to wait before complaining or, ultimately, choosing business with someone else.
Consider this: Just because I do not like mushrooms, does not mean my friends will not. Just because I do not drink coffee, does not mean others could not be a cup of coffee during a morning meeting. And, just because I do not care about you calling me back the same day, doesn't mean my customer won't.
Operating based on personal assumptions - or my personal likes and dislikes - can be dangerous. What makes me happy or upset may not be in sync with how my customers feel. And when my assumptions do not align with my customers', it's a potential customer experience disaster.