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The “NO Effort” Effect

Given all the reports and articles published on negative experiences, I am puzzled at the lack of effort from companies. This week I took a detour on my way to work to drop off my car for some repairs needed after I got into a bit of a scrape on the road. Nothing major, although the costs will be there. I had made all the required calls to follow though on paper work, made sure the dealer had the parts in, and got the car rental lined up.

Given all the reports and articles published on negative experiences, I am puzzled at the lack of effort from companies.

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This week I took a detour on my way to work to drop off my car for some repairs needed after I got into a bit of a scrape on the road. Nothing major, although the costs will be there. I had made all the required calls to follow though on paper work, made sure the dealer had the parts in, and got the car rental lined up.

Of all the people I dealt with, surprisingly, my claims adjuster and representative from the insurance company were the best. Bob and Heidi were prompt, punctual, delivered on what they promised, and used impeccable communications skills — including returning my calls quickly and being very upfront and transparent about discussing coverage with me.

Choosing a repair place was up to me, so I decided to go to the dealer. I think we can agree that we would all be loyal customers, given the chance. The service side of my car dealership has been a good experience. And I have never felt pressured to buy additional services when dropping the car in for regular check ups.

The paperwork was handled efficiently and the staff who checked the car was very proper. No zing in the voice or the step, but I chalked it up to it being the Monday after a holiday. I do understand how easy it is to slip into a complacent mode, especially with the stark contrast after time with the family.

The repair shop delivered one ding directed at my insurance company when I asked about timing. This is not an exact quote: “They are all so clueless. It takes so much longer to repair something. It’s not like yours is the only car here today.” Wait a minute: here are people who’ve had my paperwork for ten days, having a chance to give me a date for the repairs and still they make no promises on delivery.

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It gets better. The representative of Enterprise rent a car comes over with his forms. I had to call the rental car place twice as the first time they hung up on me after putting me on hold. Well, that happens, doesn’t it? I’m sure you all have random hanging up of customers every now and then. During my call and car reservation, I explained that my intention was to stay within the daily rental dollar amount allowed by the insurance company.

I had to repeat that three times because the first two times the person on the other end of the phone was too busy selling me a higher grade car for just under my allotment, making the total just above, with taxes. Will you be surprised to hear that the paperwork and car they had on the day reflected the original offer by Enterprise?

When I held my ground and asked politely for what I thought I had booked in the first place, I got a roll of the eyes and a big sigh. The change was made and a car was produced. So here I am sitting in a car not serviced – dirty and with an empty gas tank – trying to adjust the seat, with a rep that is by now sort of mad at me for asking him for a change. The left turn on a busy road to fill up the tank so I could get to work didn’t help either.

Why make no effort?

– Being attentive costs no additional time, energy, and money.
– Kindness is repaid with consideration and more business.
– When you hurt your brand with a negative experience, it will cost you to rebuild trust.

The effect of no effort is in fact a subtraction of value, allowing your brand to slip in your customers’ minds. The depreciation that follows can be made up, yet it’s still an uphill battle. Think about all that money spent on the marketing front to publicize a smiling and approachable brand. When the reality may very well be a frown. No effort has an effect, just not the desired one.

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Valeria Maltoni • Conversation Agent • Philadelphia, PA • ConversationAgent@gmail.comwww.conversationagent.com