My week in CX #6

In which this runner’s customer journey comes to a standstill, a national institution gets quite matey and an orchestra prompts new thoughts about customer experience.

Runners need a rest from feedback

After grumping last week about Runnersneed’s tardiness in responding to my feedback I received an email from the branch manager in which he clarified the limitations of their gait analysis service and apologised for my dissatisfaction. I responded to say that I would be back but not until I had been able to return to running.

So that’s resolved itself: my only comment on this being that it would have been better if a) the address on the receipt was the correct one to feed back on and b) the response had been within a couple of days not a couple of weeks.

A grand day out

There’s nothing like breaking up to make you realise what you’re going to miss and the day following my cancelling National Trust membership we took ourselves off to visit Standen for a lovely day out. Coming back we discuss whether we ought to renew: membership doesn’t expire until August so I guess we have plenty of time to think about it. Later in the week I get a call from the number I had checked out previously to discuss my cancelled direct debit. I established that the very personable lady who called me worked for Listen Fundraising and suggested that they needed to get more up-to-date data to prevent a futile call. Oh not to worry she said we enjoy talking to members and indeed I’d enjoyed our conversation, during which we had shared our liking for Standen and she had told me something I didn’t know: that there was a reciprocal arrangement with a number of European countries which meant the card could be used abroad. So the lesson from this is, to build loyalty:

  • Don’t do the hard sell.
  • Make a connection.
  • Add value.
It was all going so well…

And, with a degree of inevitability, today I get an email requesting my feedback, not on the conversation with Listen Fundraising, but on my visit to Standen. The prize draw incentive – a week in a National Trust holiday cottage – is better than the usual prize-draw-to-win-£50-in-Amazon-vouchers approach and when I click on the link I am reliably informed that it will take 20 minutes of my time. However, 5 minutes in and the whole thing falls over, so I’ll revisit – or maybe not.

Orchestral manoeuvres in the dark

Setting the stage

A quick mention for training orchestra Southbank Sinfonia who I got to know when I worked at BT and have followed ever since. They run a season of free rush hour concerts on Thursday evenings and this year are using them as a way of experimenting with different aspects of performance. Last night’s performance of 21st Century chamber music – four words that tend to put off all but the most hardened lover of ‘plinkety-plonk’ music – succeeded because the music was great (very light on both plinks and plonks) and the performance environment – in a darkened circle – lent itself to a more intense listening experience. A feature of the Sinfonia’s performances is that the players take it in turns to introduce the pieces which makes them more accessible and dispenses with the stuffy formality that is a hallmark of much classical music performance. I’m including this because in customer experience terms it succeeded because:

  • It felt like a shared experience with the ‘service providers’ i.e. performers
  • Product delivery – i.e. the performance – was high quality and different (lighting/layout)
  • The audience was part of an experiment

My feedback was sought on this one as well – although as it was via a whiteboard on the way out the chance of technical failure was slight.

So full marks to Southbank Sinfonia for continuing to experiment and, importantly, taking the customers with them.

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