What Service Time is Acceptable to Your Customers?


The fact that time is a completely made-up component in nature was one of the hardest concepts to get your head around in high school physics class.  All of nature knows night from day, but your dog is clueless about what 9:30 means.  When we tell someone, “Why don’t we meet in an hour,” we are not only operating on a “made up” agreement regarding the precise moment of rendezvous, we are relying on a made up understanding of what “an hour” means.  The measurement of time is a non-existent construct we are taught from the instant we heard, “time for bed.”


We all know that today’s wired and dangerous customers live in a 24 x 7 x 365 day “wired” world where they can access at the speed of the internet what they want, when they want it and how they want it. If your organization is not focused on meeting these service time expectations customers are quick to leave for one that can.


Time has become a crucial component for customers’ expectations of “promises kept.” Blame it on Amazon, FedEx, Netflix or Zappos, the fact is the old prompt is today’s super punctual.  Yesterday’s “in a hurry” is today’s “in a flash.”  We don’t fax documents anymore…it is way too slow.  We don’t learn about a service hiccup by reading the memo in our morning in-box, we get a text or tweet in the middle of the night.  We can’t wait for everyone to drive in to meet around a table, we “go to meeting” virtually on our mobile device.


Time is illusory, but it is a piece of fiction that drives our lives and shapes our expectations.  We gauge wait and late, not by our biological clocks, but by our time-sensitive perception that “it’s taking too long.” It is imbedded in the service covenant we make or imply when we serve.  It requires we stay “up to the minute” on what slow, fast and adequate means to our customers.   What service time is acceptable to your customers?


Be sure to check out Chip’s recent post; https://www.forbes.com/sites/chipbell/2019/09/07/there-is-nothing-fashionable-about-late/#4749a7b948bf