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Provider-Inflicted Pain

Balance Business Needs with Customer Impact

It’s a hassle when our credit card changes. We must track down every business that has our credit card number on file and update it. If we miss one company, we risk service interruptions or delivery problems.

Sometimes we decide to switch cards, but what about when our credit card company makes this change? Through no fault of our own, they force us to use a new card with a different number. This doesn’t happen often, but I have experienced it with both my personal and business accounts.

The most recent occurrence happened to me with the branded card I used for all my business purchases. They aligned with a different credit card provider, and I paid the price for that decision. I’m sure it made sense for them, but did they consider how this would affect their customers?

The Personal Impact

The first to update were the companies that automatically charged my card each month. The process to correct this was straightforward, albeit time-consuming. I looked at last month’s statement and listed everyone I needed to contact. Then I went online to provide my new credit card information. Though time-consuming and tedious, this step wasn’t hard. Some sites made updating my credit card information easy, but other sites buried this information or made the process more challenging.

But what about all the companies that had my credit card number on file, but I hadn’t bought from them in the last month? This list was much harder to compile, and I overlooked a few. But I didn’t know I had missed them until I attempted to place an order and had my card denied—all because I forgot to update my number. This produced both frustration and embarrassment.

Business Decisions

Don’t just evaluate business changes from a financial perspective. Consider how this will impact your customers. Will your decision inconvenience them or damage your relationship with them?

Though this example is about credit cards, the lesson applies elsewhere too. Other considerations include updating software, changing password requirements, and migrating from one system to another. Before proceeding, consider how these changes will impact your customers. Look for ways to mitigate their frustration or minimize their inconvenience.

Customer Service Success Tip

When you make a business decision, consider how it affects your customers. Seek ways to ease the transition for them. Consider what you can do for them so that they won’t have to do it themselves.

Read more in Peter’s new book, Sticky Customer Service, to uncover helpful customer service tips, encouraging you to do better and celebrating what you do best.