Make It Easy


Thursday, May 17, 2001

Boomerang effect
chases away

ARE you making it easy for your customers to do business with you? Beware of the boomerang effect, your actions have unintended consequences. When you give poor or slow service, it may impact customers in ways you never anticipated.

If this impact is negative, you will lose the customer and send them running to your competitor.

A few months ago I visited an unfamiliar branch of my bank. In a hurry I stopped at the closest one. After 15 minutes I realized my mistake - the line wasn't moving.

Driving to another branch would take longer than 10 minutes, so I stayed.

After a half-hour, I went into the administration area at the back of the bank and let them know they had a very long, angry line waiting outside.

While there, I had seen more than 25 people leave in disgust.

I had invested too much time by now and waited it out. It took me 45 minutes to reach the teller.

She apologized, saying that several people had called in sick.

In line, we got to know each other. The main topic of conversation was another bank that was offering low monthly fees, free checking and a smaller, more personalized service.

The general consensus was that if this bank couldn't plan for a busy Monday no matter who was sick, then maybe it would be a good thing to change banks.

The boomerang effect: Because employees called in sick, I was late with other errands. I arrived at the service station to get my car serviced at noon.

Posted on the door was this sign (with their spelling): "For you're convenience, customer service is closed every day for lunch from noon to 1."

I'm not sure where I was when that was voted a convenience. I went to a competitor.

I stopped at that station today and discovered they are going out of business.

When I asked why, they told me that business was slow.

The last time I was there, 10 people pulled up, read the "closed for lunch" sign, and chose a competitor.

Is business slow? Or did you send your business away?

Beth Terry is president of Pacific Rim Seminars.
This column is excerpted from her upcoming book,
101 Ways to Make Your Life Easier. Send questions
on management, customer service and other issues

E-mail to Business Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin