All sales training begins with the premise that you have 2 ears and one mouth – use them in that proportion, the customer is always right and understand your customer – Unless your name is the Oracle Corporation..
As a user of their Taleo recruiting product, I have always been impressed by the technology and (pre takeover by aforementioned monolith), their willingness to respond to issues. As with most corporate mergers/takeovers the winners seem to be the vendor, rarely shareholders b, rarely the majority of staff, and last comes the customer. The journey the corporation took me was less of a journey more like a suspected terrorist on the way to rendition. To make it worse any attempt to appeal has ended in some surreal Kafkaesque nightmare:
The adventure began with a simple request for some basic (additional services) that unbelievably we wanted to pay for (incredible I know) – However this request was met with…..silence until we, perhaps unreasonably enquired as to why the request was taking so long…. silence. After a further 2 weeks we were told that the merger was to blame and that we would have to wait a further period and ‘By the way we can’t do anything until we have all your banking details and company address etc. Now I maybe slightly old-fashioned in that I clearly place a value on delivering to my own customers, achieving deadlines and ultimately exceeding expectations and ultimately place a value on my own job. So I couldn’t quite fathom how an organisation could possibly behave like this when they had clearly underacheived and taken no responsibility for their failings.
And then…. I received 2 invoices that were clearly meant for another customer – because they were in excess of our total yearly spend for the previous 2 years but hey whats an invoice between friends… Now being the unreasonable individual that I am I made polite enquiries to Leadership as to why this had happened and wondered perhaps how our account could be served better…. Well I clearly didn’t understand that the processes of the new company were not the same. I see, I wondered ‘ Are there any SLA’s on service requests’? ‘ No!’ Came the reply and you are the only customer that has asked us for any such seemingly preposterous request.
Now I think of myself as resourceful and adaptable and wondered whether I should consult a psychiatrist or religious leader to tell me that I wasnt suffering from delusions or some kind of possession. I did neither, I actually offered the hand of ‘partnership’ and offered to help understand their processes and see (with a customer eye) how we could improve them. Much to my surprise, this was not listened to or probably heard because I speak in some weird ancient language that does not include any of the following words ‘When do I pay the invoice’ After this encounter I was ready to attend AA because I was beginning to get the shakes worse than Paul Gascoigne.
If cast my mind back to the period of ‘courting’,
I was treated like a roman goddess; no question was too hard, no effort too great. It felt like Valentines Day for about 6 months… I became sick of champagne,chocolate and roses, but I bought the product.
Eventually, I have had ‘grudging’ apologies that make us feel that we are lucky to be their customer. We have not been offered any proper apology or really any recompense for the time wasted on endlessly inane calls where we are like a couple who no longer can communicate in any meaningful way but are stuck in a soulless marriage with no horizon of hope.
Now I don’t expect Larry Ellison and his cadres to care about a little old customer. It clearly is not a cultural trait of this organisation but remember those bankeroft hat thought bonuses would roll in consequence free?
Remember the first principles, Customer is always right?