My week in CX #9

In  a week in which my customer experiences revolve around eating, I give some feedback, find out how much my advice is worth, eat far too much pizza and receive more communication from the mysterious Amy Ingram…

Expectation Gap

Through a combination of laziness and the fact that I get a regular stream of email offers of money off, I have been a Gap customer for more years than I care to mention. Their online store is pretty good, if suffering from a bewildering array of more-or-less-the-same denim jeans, and now offers a click and collect option which avoids the need to pay extra for delivery. I went to my local store recently to pick up an item and was directed to the GapKids area on an upstairs floor. This seemed slightly less than optimal from my point of view as I had to join a short queue of mums and babies at a single till to pick up my package whereas there was no-one queuing downstairs and there were two till positions available.

Admittedly this doesn’t figure very highly in the pantheon of customer inconvenience but when the email from Gap arrived seeking feedback on my experience I let them know that this could be improved. Very soon after I had clicked my feedback away an email arrived from ‘Ben’ in Customer Service addressing me as Valued Gap Shopper (Desperate Middle-aged Cheapskate would probably be more appropriate) thanking me for my feedback – which was repeated in the email – and stating that

‘Our goal is to offer exceptional customer service and make your experience as low-effort as possible. It is clear to me that we did not deliver on our promise, for which I am truly sorry.

 Please know that we will follow up with the appropriate personnel within our business and take the necessary steps to improve our service going forward.’

This was accompanied by an unsolicited 10% off voucher for use over the next 6 months. Unfortunately this can’t be used with any of the myriad offers I receive so is in effect just a gesture, but it was unexpected and makes me think Gap are taking my feedback seriously.

The good, the bad and the dough balls

Two trips to Pizza Express recently – once for a lunch and once to enjoy some excellent jazz. The first trip demonstrated some good practice in customer treatment and the second one not so. At our lunchtime pizza we were involved in conversation and only began to notice the absence of pizza when the hunger pangs got too much. Just as we were about to raise this, the restaurant manager appeared and apologised that there had been an (unspecified) problem with our order. By way of compensation we were given free dough balls to keep hunger at bay until the pizza arrived. This doesn’t count as over-compensation but is enough to make me view the whole thing in a positive light.

At Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho I encountered a practice that I thought had disappeared, namely  adding 12.5% service to the bill and then having the credit card terminal ask if you want to add a gratuity. This seems a like a way to extract further dosh from customers who are already paying a slight premium to eat high street standard pizza in the louche surroundings of a jazz club and who might not be paying enough attention to their bill. Naturally I have provided some feedback to ‘howdidwedough‘ on this and automatically received – you guessed it – a voucher for free dough balls. I’d rather have a considered response to my feedback which at the time of writing is still awaited.

Bon anniversaire á Côte

On the subject of good restaurant experiences, quick mention for bistro chain Côte whose free kir birthday offer was enough to propel us to their Wimbledon branch on my wife’s birthday. The single candle in an apple crumble pudding and a spontaneous round of Happy Birthday made it extra special. It’s definitely the little things that make a difference.

Will work for food

As a consultant I like to be paid for my help and advice and, on the basis of the above, my earnings in the last week have comprised:

  • Two portions of dough balls (one of them effectively a dough ball future)
  • A notional £5 off my next purchase from Gap (assuming an order value of £50)

This is clearly not quite enough to keep the wolf from the door, although the insight into the practices of both companies is – I hope – a little more valuable.

Update on Amy

The lunch meeting arranged by virtual assistant Amy Ingramsee previous post – also happened last week (this week I am mostly dieting!) and I was pleased to get an email from Amy the day before confirming it. I resisted the temptation to test Amy’s capabilities further by sending unusual dietary needs or other complications and lunch duly happened with a number of interesting insights on CX which I will save up for future pieces, which may be slightly less food-related.

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