Your Customers Don’t Want to Talk To You

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Your Customers Don’t Want to Talk To You

Self-service is a growing customer preference because when it is done right you get exactly what you want on your terms.

Have you used Uber (the car service) yet?

I live in a neighborhood of San Francisco that doesn’t get a lot of taxi traffic. I don’t have the option to wave a cab down. Until Uber, my only alternative was to call the taxi company, wait on hold, get yelled at by a disgruntled dispatcher, and hang up wondering if the cab was actually go to show up (many times they didn’t ever show). When I went to pay, inevitably the cabbie said his credit card machine wasn’t working so I was forced to remember to carry cash.

Now there is Uber. I use my cell phone, I get status in the form of a little car moving on the map towards me with a minute by minute count down to their arrival. What about payment you ask? There is no customer burden on payment on a ride by ride basis! What do I mean? I mean that I put my credit card into Uber once and payment is automatic on every ride. The best part about Uber is jumping out of the car with no manual transaction needed. Self-service is better than full service in this case. Uber did to rides what Amazon did to e-commerce with 1-click shopping – they removed virtually all the customer burden from the transaction.

Most printers are still primarily interacting with their customers through phone and e-mail. What is your level of customer burden on every transaction? My guess is its way too high. New studies (The Effortless Experience, by Matthew Dixon) show that customer burden is the real driver of loyalty.

Step back and look at your business from the customer’s perspective – how much work are you making them do in order to buy your products and services?


  1. dots on February 24, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Jennifer –

    thank’s for the article!
    While I agree in general I am not sure if the Ueber comparison holds under closer scrutiny. Ueber offers a service while web-to-print shops sell products without personal contact. Legal frameworks in different countries may differ, but at least in Europe you cannot really do without email confirming (or: Establishing) a contractural agreement.
    Otherwise: Agreed!

  2. Jim Rosenthal on February 24, 2014 at 8:45 am

    There are certainly two sides to the equation – a) how much work are you making the customer do and b) how much is being done internally. If internally you are using the old “swivel approach” – i.e. taking the order from one system and manually entering it into a different system, you have not achieved euphoria – and by the way – are not efficient and set yourself up for mistakes