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.
Beginning a regular review of my own good, bad and indifferent customer experiences, in the past week. If this seems like an unnecessary insight into my fabulous life then apologies but, as Socrates almost said, ‘the unexamined customer experience is not worth having’. Here we go with some highlights and lowlights…
I’ve been working in financial services on and off over a period of more than 20 years and the debate over how many branches a bank needs has been going on for at least that long. So it was good to see the Financial Services Club keeping the debate going this week. Despite money becoming increasingly virtual and the growth of online banking I think the industry has a long way to go before we see a significant change in the number and style of bank branches. Banks that invest in their people as well as new technology will maintain both a distribution network and the valuable customer relationships that go with it.
This is not so much a straight fight but more a series of skirmishes along the road to power – the power in this case being the power supply enabling my wife’s new iPhone to function effectively. It’s a story of persistence in the face of supply chain problems and one customer service rep’s action turning a mediocre and frustrating experience into superior service…
In my attempts at bringing humour into my work, I – and I think I’m probably not the only one – have occasionally used the phrase ‘through the medium of interpretive dance’ as a shorthand for ‘out-there, wacky stuff in the business place’. Despite my love of aforesaid wackiness I’ve never actually been to a meeting or workshop where any form of dance was featured – until last night when I attended the excellent Knowledge Cafe run by Alida Acosta and accompanying tango dancers.
Or how you can keep going on a path of mediocrity while your customers fall by the wayside…
As someone whose walls are decorated with a fair amount of typography and calligraphy (an abiding interest from my wife’s days as an art student) I was interested to see the furore generated by IKEA’s decision to change its catalogue font from Futura to the more screen-friendly Verdana. Is this just an issue for font-geeks or a massive erosion of the brand loyalty engendered over many years of superior flat-pack design and serving countless Swedish meatballs?
Having been happily married for many years I don’t really remember my last relationship break-up – and it’s probably fair to say that any notions I have are informed by films, plays or books (or the Archers come to think of it). However I had a reminder of what it might have been like following a recent break-up with O2. Paraphrasing somewhat, it went a bit like this:
I make no apologies for a second post on the joys of improvisation – this time inspired by seeing the Comedy Store Players (featuring Paul Merton) in an evening of hilarious improvised comedy at my local theatre last weekend. For readers unfamiliar with the improv approach, the audience supplies the source material by suggesting film or theatre styles, character names, locations, jobs and so on. It’s then up to the performers to improvise from that starting point. It’s hard to convey the results of this without making it sound ridiculous – which it is – so I won’t attempt to. (Since it’s played for laughs the ridiculousness is all part of the equation anyway.)
I’ve spent a large chunk of the holiday season reading the papers and they’re chock full of articles looking back at 2008 and looking forward to 2009. Depending on how grouchy I’m feeling it’s either a neat bit of recycling or plain lazy journalism. Whatever, this year I’m not going to be left out and so I’m proud to present the first annual Open Chord Awards for superior customer service.