Sample Your Service Experience to Find New Opportunities

Many managers of the customer experience become detached from what is happening on the ground. They miss opportunities to improve. And they might even miss opportunities to substantially increase sales through the service experience.

My wife was looking for a new electronic gadget – a tablet.

We walked into the retail outlet of one of the big brands, and found something that looked like the right sort of product. We didn’t know much about this type of product other than it might be a “good to have”.

We started flicking screens etc, just like everyone else in the shop seemed to be doing.

A sales person watched us. But he said nothing.

After a few minutes of pointless flicking, I asked the hovering sales person, “What is so good about this product?” Instead of asking us, “What will you use this product for?”, he rattled off a list of features that did not mean much to us. He did show us the quality of the photos. That was nice. But the rest of the information did not seem that meaningful to us.

So, we walked out. My wife bought a competing product from another shop.

Sale lost.

And, the management of this company does not realise that this happens thousands of times a year across the nation. Imagine the sales that could be won if the service experience was improved.

I contacted the company – a client of ours – and told my key contact that they are losing sales due to the poor retail experience. I arranged to go with one of the head office employees  to  sample his own company’s customer experience.

We did a “mystery sales experience” shop.

Sure enough, he had the same experience.

And here is the “killer statement”. He said, “Our management rarely comes to this level.”

So, here is the simple point. If you are in customer experience management, it’s important for you to continually sample your own service. Experience what your customer experiences.

I rang the call centre of a major service provider. We have been long time customers. The customer experience was enough to make a customer get hot under the collar. I waited on the line, and then got cut off. This happened three times. I got cut off when in the middle of a technical assistance call. The customer service representative had my phone number but did not call me back. So I had to go through the process all over again. The technical issue was eventually solved, but the experience was less than smooth.

So here is the opportunity.

By continually sampling your own service experience, you will be able to get the pulse of what is happening. And, you might be able to find, right under your nose, low cost ways to increase sales through service and to increase customer loyalty at the same time.

Many companies employ mystery shoppers. That’s great. But never leave it totally to outsiders. Take the time to be the mystery shopper of your own service.

This strategy is simple. It’s low cost. It requires discipline on your part. And it works.

Until next time.

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