Most of the time I spend on Customer Experience is focused on helping clients design effective customer experience programmes to drive profit through adding customer value. However, I never cease to be amazed at how much of a lasting impression small experience gestures have on me.
Why does small count so much?
When I look back at these scenarios, there is a common thread. They typically occur when I’m least expecting it and have the ability to change my emotional state. The direction of which is from neutral or negative to positive.
They come about when there is an unexpected block to fulfilling my intention or things work unreasonably against me. These aren’t points of pain, but moments of truth because each company has managed to create an experience between me and the brand which has stuck with me.
Also, these are quite unremarkable and low interest moments of a customer’s journey, but they’ve been turned into more than that.
Is small cheap too?
Whilst I don’t think either of these examples featured cost that much to install, I’d like to think the way in which it’s delivered is coded, guided by strong Customer Standards. I have found this the most successful method for rapid, widespread and welcomed adoption of Customer Experience in an organisation. Importantly, it helps remove inconsistency because a badly delivered small experience can back fire and trivialise the customer’s primary requirement
#1 Halfords make good from a bad situation
I collected my bike from the station one evening after work to discover the back light had been taken (I normally remove it but forgot on this occasion). It was dark so I wheeled it through our high street to Halfords. I took my bike in and explained what happened. The shop assistant pointed me to the ‘lights section’ empathising with my story and reminding me to remove my lights in future. I paid for the light and was about to leave. He then stopped me, looked at my front tyre and put on a missing valve cover saying that will help keep my tyres inflated. By taking that extra concern for me, he lifted my spirits too.
#2 Abellio take control and save the day
I often find the train company I use has plenty friction points, largely due to the hugely complex nature of running a train company. I get that, and often accept it. When you travel a standard route in a standard way, things normally work out okay. But on this occasion I’d had a call from a contact who was flying in to Stansted airport and wanted to meet me. I was at Liverpool Street Station at the time but only had a return ticket home which was two few stops before Stansted.
I tried to figure out what to do on the ticket machine to buy an extension to my journey. But with only a couple of minutes until the next train, I was failing. I then noticed a ‘call me’ button. I called out of desperation because I thought I’d miss my train. A voice came from beyond the machine and I explained what I needed and how short the time I had. The operator then took control of my screen and navigated through a complicated series of steps to get to the ticket I needed.
It worked out as £4 rather than than £15 I’d arrived at, and within a few seconds, so I caught my train and made my meeting. All the time thinking, wow, thank Abellio, you made this happen.
Never let the small moments pass by. Make them count in a brand differentiated way.
Posted by Chistopher Brooks, Customer Consultant, Lexden (London)
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Lexden helps deliver effective customer experience insight, strategy, content and creative activation clients seeking sustainable profit from customer experience.