Where does the customer experience begin?
Data collection and analysis are key pieces of any strategy to enhance the customer experience with the business. Are we currently obsessed with Big Data to the point of forgetting the fundamentals of the customer experience?
We must remember that it is the employees of the company who are in contact with the customers who represent it. And this, whether in-store, in a call center or via a customer service on social networks. But the better the customer experience, the better our reputation and brand.
I chose two personally experienced cases that perfectly illustrate this fact and should remind us that the customer experience starts with the seller.
Case of a bad customer experience
On his birthday, we took our son to dinner at an Italian restaurant with many establishments across the United States. The food is good and the prices reasonable.
As we waited at the bar for our table to be released, a waiter standing behind my wife dropped a soda glass. The glass shatters, splashing on my wife’s back. She goes to the bathroom to assess the damage and mop up the liquid so that it does not stain her blouse. And, then comes back to our table with a wet blouse on the back while we are in an air-conditioned restaurant.
Incident handling makes all the difference
Accidents, it happens. But it’s the way the customer is treated after the incident that makes all the difference. In this case, the manager was within one meter of my wife and within two meters of the incident. I expected him to apologize right away. He waited for her to come back from the toilet. Well, it’s not so bad. He apologized and offered to pay for the dry cleaning of the blouse if needed. Nothing more normal.
But again, I appreciate. However, what surprised me was that instead of trying to improve our customer experience, he was content with that. He did not ask us if we had come for dinner. He did not offer my wife to pay for her entree, her dessert or even a cocktail for the inconvenience caused by one of her waiters. Instead, we ended up wondering if our customer relationship design was outdated.
Collect valuable data
While this event could provide valuable data, it is likely that we would not even know it happened. Are these types of incidents listed? If so, by whom? If so, how is the feedback from customers recorded? No investigation was conducted on the impact of the management of this incident on our perception of this chain of restaurants. And yet, during dinner, we were wondering what might make us come back to eat at this establishment.
Case of a good customer experience
Compare the previous example to this experience I had with a rental car. I am a Gold Member and like any member of this category, I received an email describing my rental car and indicating the pickup location.
While I find the car, Ann, the hiring agent who looks after me, notices, as I leave, that the engine is making strange noises. I did not hear them because of the heat and humidity. The air conditioner was thorough. Ann knows that I am a Gold member and insists that I return to the space reserved for members of this category to choose another vehicle.
So, I did not have to queue for a replacement car, which I greatly appreciated. My previous experiences with this company had been so far average. But I go to this city often. Ann changed everything for me that day.
If we look at the data, they will only indicate that the car has been returned and another has been taken. They will not show my positive customer experience created by Ann.
When looking to improve and manage your Customer Experience, remember that the customer is at the center of everything. This is the way the customer is treated at the point of interaction with your company that allows you to differentiate yourself. From simple interactions, the customer experience must turn into intelligence to bring about real improvements.