Are You Helping Your Customers or Driving Them Nuts?

If you don’t know if your systems are driving your customers crazy then perhaps it’s time to ask.

My 11-year old son has been waiting patiently to receive his copy of a newly released sequel from the library. I could have bought him the book, but I thought it was important for him to learn what a wonderful resource the library can be. I’m now having second thoughts.


His name has been on the waiting list at our local library since the day the book was released. We knew there would be a wait, but we did not anticipate that we would take over three months to get our hands on this book. Every time we stopped by the library, we would ask the librarian if the book was in. We got very excited yesterday when we saw the book on the shelf that held the reserves. We were then notified that this particular copy belonged to another child. You see, my son’s name is attached to a specific book in the system, which was due back on November 18th. It’s December 4th and it is now apparent to me that either the kid who has this book is a really slow reader (you can renew it twice which means he’s had it for 9 weeks) or he has lost the book in his room. Either way, we lose.

Our library is part of a large group of libraries that use the MARS system. I think I now know why it’s called this, as I feel like I’m living on another planet. The librarian told me that we could either continue to wait for our book or she could take my son’s name off the list and put him back on, which would put him at the back of the line. Neither option will bring us any closer to getting our hands on this book.

This has been such a frustrating process that if I were a paying customer I can assure you that I would take my business elsewhere. Do you have processes like this in your organization that work for everyone, but the customer? If you don’t know, then I suggest you survey your customers to ensure you are not driving them nuts.


Speaking of nuts, my son just informed me while I was writing this post that I needed to cancel his library request. You see he checked this book out of the school library today. The place where this book has been all along!


Roberta Chinsky
Human Resource


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About the author

For more than 25 years, Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including Best Buy, New Balance, The Boston Beer Company and small to medium-size businesses, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She is known world-wide as “The Talent Maximizer®.” Roberta, a leading authority on leadership and the skills and strategies required to earn employee commitment and client loyalty, is the author of the top-selling book, Suddenly In Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, 2011), a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book For Leaders


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