The Danger of Settling for Status Quo


This post was originally published on the FCR blog on May 27, 2016. Click here to read the original.

This week’s episode of the TED Radio Hour was particularly powerful as it explored the world through the lense of designers. The first segment highlighted a TED Talk by Tony Fadell, CEO at Nest. Oh and he also led the team at Apple that created the iPod and iPhone. I’d say that qualifies him to talk about design.

The Stickers on Fruit

In his talk, Fadell told a fabulous story about the stickers on fruit. Whoever came up with that idea made the checkout process when purchasing an apple or a bunch of bananas a whole lot faster. The problem is that when customers get home, they have to peel that sticker off before eating the fruit. As consumers something like this would be annoying, but after having to remove the stickers over and over again, we eventually accept it as the status quo.

The Sign on the Door

That got me thinking about the sign on the door I wrote about about recently. The car rental company I was trying to locate had moved nearly a year ago and didn’t update their address with the travel company or the sign of the door of the old office to reflect the correct year. As the customer, I noticed the problem immediately and was annoyed.

Now let’s flip that around and think about this from the perspective of the employees at the rental car company. Clearly when I complained to the agent at the front counter, she knew about the incorrect address and sign. It’s very possible that the first time she heard that complaint, she told her manager. She may have even taken the initiative to contact someone at corporate or even the travel website to correct the address. I can only speculate about how that conversation went, but it’s been a year and the address and sign are still incorrect.

Is Hope Lost?

I’d like to speak to my colleagues on the front lines for a moment. I’m willing to bet that given a few moments to think, you could quickly rattle off a list of “fruit sticker” or “incorrect sign on the door issues.” You know, those ones customers call about over and over again. How many of those have we given up on suggesting improvement and instead settled for the status quo?

Allow me to grab my pom poms for a moment and cheer you on and say HOPE IS NOT LOST. As the customer experience moves more and more into the limelight and social media amplifies the voice of the customer, more and more companies and executives realize how important it is to listen to what YOU have to say.

My charge to you is to be ready. Keep a running list of those top issues you encounter. Think about some suggestions for making them better and bring your list to your next session with your supervisor or next roundtable discussion. Supervisors, managers, directors, vice presidents, and members of the c-suite, open your ears and your notebooks and let’s improve the our customer experience together.


Share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *