In this article, I want to talk about one way for you to keep a pulse on the customer experience that you deliver to your customers – and how happy they are likely to be in the process.
I am talking about walking in your customer’s shoes, to experience what your customers experience. I am talking about being a normal every day customer, just like any other person.
Let me explain…
Yesterday, I was at large, well-known department store, trying on a pair of trousers. (For those of you who have been following my recent posts, yes, I am still searching for the right pair of trousers!)
I found a pair that was my size, and went into the fitting room to try it on. That is where I had a “customer ouch” experience – there were little things that led to me having a less-than-good customer experience. Let’s start with the floor. There was hair on floor and fluff on the floor. It was dirty. And there had been a touch-up job on the wall, but it was not painted over. The physical environment was not that pretty.
I previously that day bought a newspaper and had a few loose items that I was carrying with me. My guess is that many people who go into a change room would be in a similar position. But there was nowhere to put them. There were clothes hooks, but there was not a bench. So, I dropped my newspaper etc on the floor. No bench. Nothing to sit on. Some customers (like me) like to sit down while they put their shoes back on. And, this certainly will apply as the customer becomes more senior. Little things could have made this experience a lot better.
Now, you might say, a manager or supervisor could check the change rooms for cleanliness. Correct. However, unless the manager or supervisor changes their clothes in the change room, they will not have the chance of experiencing the inconvenience of not having a bench seat on which to put what they have brought into the change room with them, and they will have nowhere to sit to put their shoes back on. They will not feel what the customer feels during the customer experience. They will continue to walk the floors in blissful ignorance…
Let’s take another example. Give your own company a call. I called a bank at around 9.30 one evening to avoid the “thank you for waiting” message…and I gave up after waiting for 25 minutes of incessant “thank you for waiting” messages. I knew a manager in the bank and told him that it was torturous to hear the same message, endlessly looping, while I waited. After around 10 minutes, each time that the same message looped through was like a gong banging inside my head. If you have responsibility for the quality of the customer experience delivered by your company, you should call your company at various times of the day, and experience what your customer experience. And you might have found ways to make my wait more pleasurable.
One final one for now.
It is common practice for decision makers in the airline industry to get the “royal treatment” when they fly. They travel first or business class. They are able to avoid the formalities that other customers experience.
This is great for the comfort of the senior executive. But, it does not give the him or her the chance to observe and understand what other passengers experience. Opportunities for reality checks are lost.
So, here is my advice to you.
Take time out to be anonymous. Be a customer of your own company. Buy on your website. Call over the phone. Wait in your queues. Ask for a refund. And the list goes on. Breathe the air that your customers breathe. Feel the emotions that your customers experience.
And, you never know, by taking a real-experience dive into your customers experience, your team might end up making hundreds of little improvements…like a clean floor and bench seats in your change rooms and messages on hold that entertain your waiting customers rather than driving them nuts! Until next time.