1. I went to our call centres the other day to listen to why customers are calling us (as opposed to contacting us in any other way - btw the reason they do is they want trusted advice from human beings. I'm sure there are other ways to do this that have the human touch but I digress). We had a customer call who wanted to cancel broadband - he wasn't using it. Craig (the rep) could have just gone through the motions and cancelled it but decided to drop his success rate on call metrics and take 10 seconds to look at the customer's overall bill. This guy was spending $350 a month - mainly on domestic and Australian calls. So Craig asks if he wants to look at other options and ends up selling a plan which will probably cut $150 a month off his bill. Customer is stoked and casually asks about mobile - Craig ends up selling him a phone sight unseen which will completely suit his needs. Customer is still paying less per month and now has a great mobile - all because Craig took the personal risk to engage in a conversation that the customer hadn't initiated.
2. I've been shopping around our user-centred design methods internally and talked to a number of senior General Managers. The value of what I was talking about was recognised immediately - however there was no will to implement. I can understand resources are tight, deadlines are near - we've all been there. A will to implement would find a way to get around that.
I had to reflect on the second experience - a normal uncontrolled reaction would be to say 'pack of muppets - they don't get it' but I've realised that I've got to have the will to back up what I believe in and find a way to make it stick. Which means persistence and probably an alternative approach. Thanks Craig from the Helpdesk in Hamilton - you've taught me a great lesson.