Will Lukang, MBA, PMP, MASCL, CSM

In this economic situation companies have a tendency to focus on cutting back and reducing expenses to make their business profitable.   But there is a saying “penny wise, pound foolish”.  While it looks like you’re making progress by seeing incremental expense reduction, you could be missing the big picture, which is what your company’s value proposition is – what  your company is all about.


This week I witnessed this first hand while a friend of mine dropped off his car for service.  The customer representative at the counter for loaner cars asked him which insurance company he has.  Upon hearing the name of the insurance company, the customer representative says, “I’m afraid that I cannot provide you with our loaner car, but we can provide you a Budget rental car and you have to pay for the insurance.” I was surprised by what just transpired because the purpose of the loaner car is to let your customer experience driving the newer cars, thereby eliciting interest to possibly make a future purchase.   The representative explained that they had an issue with the insurance company that led to their decision. The insurance is $36 per day.  From my perspective, for such an amount, they decided to sacrifice the client experience and took away the opportunity for the client to drive one of their vehicles.


As I returned to work, I pondered on what just transpired that led to that outcome. My friend was not happy with what happened; he felt that loaner service is one of the conveniences that people expect.   For $36, how many customers had a bad customer experience?  Once a customer has a bad experience, there is chance that they will not make any future purchases.    Therefore, is the $36 cost worth losing your customer?   In my opinion the company was being penny wise but pound foolish.   In fact, they’re missing the big picture as to why they are in business. They describe themselves as a luxury line of product, but they don’t provide the level of service commensurate to the image they’re presenting.


From a customer-service standpoint, it is important that we make the most of every opportunity we have when dealing with our customers.  We need to ensure that the customer comes away feeling good about how they are treated.   If they are treated well, it increases the chance of repeat business.  


That experience taught me one thing.   We need to deliver what we promised.  Each touch-point with our customer is an opportunity to impress upon them that we are here for them.   It is essential to do our best to make sure their needs are addressed and they come away satisfied.