The Forward Edge is that point where the capabilities of your business, interact directly with customers. This typically comprises a small number of the capabilities in an organization, but this the most important part of a business. There is something to learn for our organizations from looking at our experiences as customers at the Forward Edge. I have had three notable Forward Edge experiences in the last few weeks.
I was rear-ended a few weeks ago by a driver with State Farm insurance. We reported the accident from the scene and got a police report. State Farm took everything they needed from that initial report and the police report. They arranged for the appraisal, scheduled the repair at my car dealership, handled all the paperwork with the dealer, arranged for the rental and payment of a rental car, and paid every cent of everything. Their interactions with me were timely and professional.
Enterprise rented the car to me during the time the car was being repaired. They picked my up at the dealership when I dropped off my car, had the car ready when I showed up, called a couple time to make sure I was happy and that the service had been friendly, checked me in quickly and drove me back to the dealership when it was time to pick up my car. Their interactions were too warm and friendly from my perspective, I don’t need an emotional connection when I’m renting a car. The calls to check on my satisfaction both came a bad times during the business day and took too long. But they were consistently friendly and warm.
On Friday, I tried to order pizza from Pizza Huts website. My password wouldn’t work. I tried the option to resend my password, but after 30 minutes had never received my password – I even checked my spam folder. I tried to register again but I couldn’t because I had already used my email address. I tried to look up the menu, but couldn’t because the system said I was in the middle of placing an order. Their use of technology frustrated me.
So I called customer service. They could not reset my password or make sure it got sent to me. They had to forward the request to their web master. It took four days for my email and password to get to me. They knew this was a problem that people were experiencing. They couldn’t take my order either. They gave me the number of the local Pizza Hut to call. When I called, the person that took my order was obviously very busy and let me know that in the future I could place my order on-line. Their use of technology did not serve their business either.
State Farm clearly has their capabilities aligned with the customer’s needs and expectations at the Forward Edge. Their use of technology to integrate with their partners and keep track of everything was seamless. Enterprise also has their capabilities aligned with the Forward Edge. I wonder how many other people feel that the tone of the service reps on the phone calls were too invasive or took too much time with pleasantries. Pizza Hut has the trappings in place of serving the customer, but their capabilities are not aligned with my needs. I sure the ordering system saves them a lot of time and expense, but I may never order from Pizza Hut again.
Pizza hut made an unhappy customer and wasted a lot of their time because their website has a bug and their customer service reps don’t have access to the right tools. How well do you understand your capabilities at the Forward Edge? What do you have in place to understand the customer’s needs and satisfaction at the Forward Edge?