Starting an occasional series in which I report back from the front line of customer experience. As well as an obsession with the minutiae of customer experience I have an obsession with keeping things as simple as possible (but no simpler as Einstein once put it) and so a recent experience with M&S Food reminded me, once again, how introducing even a small amount of complexity into a transaction can result in a poor customer experience, despite the heroic efforts of front line staff…
I didn’t set out to theme this year’s blogs around films but as all consultants know, two data points make a trend, so maybe I’ll continue to do so (although I’m planning to see The Wolfman soon so that could be tricky). After finding a service message in The Road it’s much easier for me to find one in the latest George Clooney vehicle Up In The Air. But it’s one that challenged my own ideas of superior service.
Customer surveys are a brilliant idea, no? No, not always. When you try to measure superior service and the emotional connection a customer has with you or your product, it can be difficult to get data that really helps pinpoint where and how to improve. In this article I will highlight some pitfalls in satisfaction surveys and measures and suggest some simpler approaches to measurement that will help drive the right kind of change.
This week I will be putting up three posts on the emotional element of superior service. I will be covering:
1) How creating an emotional connection can build customer loyalty
2) Where customer surveys can let you down
3) Why, paradoxically, customers don’t always come first
First, let’s look at how a positive emotional connection can build loyalty better than loyalty schemes.
The discussions on superior service examples yielded a detailed response from management consultant Jane Northcote (www.janenorthcote.com) whose take on superior service recognises that it’s a two-way transaction. Jane writes:
Customer service is traditionally regarded as an attribute of a company: Waitrose provides ‘good’ customer service, an electronics discount store provides ‘bad’ customer service. Equally, however, it is true that customer service is an attribute of the customer. Some people experience good customer service, and others bad, even from the same organisation. Why is this?