Customer experience: The Case of the Missing Adapter

girl-204327_960_720The consultant finished her presentation at the swanky hotel conference center and packed up her equipment—everything except the adapter cord that went from her computer to the LED projector, a moderately expensive gizmo.

Several months later, when she realized what she had done, she called the hotel to ask if they had found the adapter. She figured it was a long shot, it had been such a long time ago.  The lost-and-found folks said they had not see it, but promised to call her if it should turn up.

Sometime later, she was delighted to receive a call from the hotel’s customer service department alerting her that they had found the adapter and would be sending it back to her.

Her delight turned to chagrin when she received the remains of an envelope in the mail, along with an apology from the U.S. Postal Service stating that they had received the envelope at their central sorting location, open and with no contents. The adapter had apparently been placed in a plain envelope with no padding or protection and it had not survived the postal journey.

The consultant was hesitant to contact the hotel again. After all, it was her fault that she had lost the adapter in the first place, and the hotel had tried to make it right…sort of. She decided to write a note to the hotel, politely thanking them for their attention to the matter, but suggesting they might want to take a bit more care in the future.

Two days later, she received an email from the hotel’s general manager, apologizing that her staff had dropped the ball on the return of the adapter and offering to pay for a replacement. She also promised to speak with her lost and found department to make sure that kind of problem didn’t happen again.

Needless to say, the consultant now has a very positive attitude about the hotel. The hotel was willing to admit to a mistake, correct it, and take steps to make sure it didn’t happen again. From a customer service perspective, what could have been a negative experience for the consultant became a very positive one, ensuring that when she tells the story, the hotel will be portrayed in a positive light.

Isn’t that the kind of customer you want to have telling your story?

Improving customer loyalty: Keep an eye on 5 things and you’ll keep more of them

Image for Improving Customer Loyalty PostOnly 28 percent of consumers are loyal to a brand or businesses, but we all know return customers are the key to a healthy bottom line.

Take a look at these five reasons your customers may be abandoning you:

  1. You treat new and existing customers too differently: If you’re giving hefty discounts to lure new customers, better offer your existing customers something along the same lines.

  2. You haven’t WOWed your loyal customers for a long time: Offer something special—a birthday freebie; exclusive access to new products—and make sure you’re thanking customers for their feedback and implementing what they suggest.

  3. You forget who is your business backbone: Which customers buy which product? In other words, focus on the core of your business by paying attention to where you get the most traction; then do more of that.

  4. You make problem resolution painful: Teach and empower your employees to solve customer problems efficiently and beyond the norm. 

  5. Your customers are getting the same quality for a lower price: Customers will jump ship in a minute if they’ve had a bad experience with your business; when they do, they flock to something of the same quality for a lower price. A customer loyalty program, and attention to high quality service, will keep this from happening. 

Customer experience: Three steps toward creating aweseome experiences

fitness-332278__180CEM—yet another business acronym! All you need to know is it stands for Customer Experience Management and, well, it’s what everyone in your business should be aware of -at the very least.

 If you’re dedicated to managing the customer experience with your company, you need to be aware of it at every point of interaction a potential customer may have with you.  This article from the Customer Guru explains that managing it means doing so at every point of contact—in your print ads; when a customer searches for you online; when someone contacts your retail store; when someone asks a friend for a recommendation or an opinion; and finally when your product is purchased and used.

Only by gauging and understanding the customer’s expectation can a company deliver an experience that meets or exceeds that expectation.

So, how can you manage things? Try the three M’s…

  1. Measure: Determine a method to figure out your current level of customer satisfaction; then decide on a goal. Then, consistently measure what you’re doing.

  2. Monitor: You’ll need to keep close tabs on the fluctuations in the measurements you set up in step 1.  When there’s a blip—up or down—figure out why.

  3. Manage: To manage what you’re doing, you’ll need to connect with your customers and gain their feedback.  With the feedback, strive for your next level of improvement.

August 2016 Client Mystery Shopping Newsletter

Our August 2016 Client Mystery Shopping Newsletter features:

  • Five Ways to Maximize your Mystery Shopping Results
  • What are the Key Elements of Successful Mystery Shopping?
  • Using Mystery Shopping to go beyond Voice of the Customer programs
  • Upcoming Events – which of these upcoming events around the country will you be attending?

Click the link below to read the full issue of the newsletter for our bank mystery shopping clients.

August 2016 Client Newsletter

Customer service: Attitude and Aptitude

Image for Customer Service Attitude Post - shutterstock_251614729The clerk at the local hardware store was new to his job, one could tell, and he was having difficulty finding the right item in stock. Then the computerized cash register gave him problems, making the transaction take twice as long as it should have. Nonetheless, the clerk remained cheerful and clearly was doing his best at a new job. It was easy for me to forgive him because of that cheerful attitude.

In contrast, the clerk at the large big box hardware store knew exactly where to find the item I was looking for. But he directed me there with an expression that indicated he couldn’t care any less whether I found it or not. Perhaps he was having a bad day–it happens to everyone–and I’m not saying that every clerk in every big box store acts that way. But the interaction with the first clerk was much more enjoyable than with the second, even though the latter was more knowledgeable and better prepared to help.

A wise man once said, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” When dealing with the public, it seems a cheerful attitude covers a multitude of sins, as well.

The Best Customer Experiences Start with Customer Management

Image for Let’s manage those customer experiences better postA focus on customer experience by marketers should instead become a focus on customer management, according to this article from AdAge.com. A customer experience focus has become extremely popular in recent years, with 89 percent of businesses now saying they compete mostly on this basis. However, the return on the investment in customer experience has not been great. The author says that may be because the focus has not been on creating a valuable experience for the customer that will also create business value. How to turn this around?

  • A company should examine a customer’s past and present value to determine what type of customer experiences are likely to result in higher value in the future.

  • A company should determine which customers result in the highest value, and then seek to understand what those customers truly care about. In other words, analysis of customers needs to be more precise.

  • After taking a more comprehensive view of both the ultimate value and of specific customer segments, as described above, a company should invest only in the tactics that will result in the highest value back to the company—an improved R.O.I.

  • A company should continuously take detailed measurements of all value being created by improved customer experiences.

All of that can only be accomplished if the proper technology is used and by ensuring that every place a customer has contact with the company is reporting their data.  The result will be continuous and deep insights into customer behavior and its resulting business value.