Ever take a minute to reflect on the best and worst experiences you’ve had as a customer? I did this recently as part of an exercise with a client and noticed all the stories (about 30) shared some common characteristics.
1. Both the best and worst experience stories started with a problem.
2. Somewhere in the attempt at resolving the problem a person got involved.
3. In the “best experience” examples the person getting involved came into the situation completely focused on helping the customer. Just the opposite occurred in the “worst experience” stories.
Lowe’s, the home improvement store, came up on more than one occasion as delivering one of the best customer experiences. The Lowe’s stories were similar. A major home repair project is underway and the customer is not exactly sure how to complete it. A Lowe’s representative walks the customer around the store selecting all the necessary parts and tools and then delivers step-by-step instructions on how to complete the repair. A few things jumped out at me regarding the consistency of the Lowe’s stories.
1. The business has decided what they want the customer experience to be and they’re investing to make this a competitive advantage.
2. Lowe’s recognizes its people are key to delivering a great customer experience and they’re either really good at hiring customer-focused people or at developing them. It’s likely both.
3. Lowe’s has enabled its people to deliver an exceptional level of service by empowering them and developing processes and policies that support their customer experience objectives.
So, as you’re out doing your last minute holiday shopping take a look at the experiences those businesses are delivering to you. Ask yourself, what kind of experience is my company delivering to its customers? Have you clearly defined what you want that experience to be? Do your policies and processes enable you to deliver the kind of customer experience you envision?
Feel free to share your customer experience stories with us.
Senior Vice President