One morning last week in the space of 10 minutes I walked past three examples of customer experience which are more to do with my interpretation of what I experienced rather than the intention of the brand trying to deliver the customer experience.
It highlights that all brands have blind spots. Most organisations look at customer experience from a ‘process’ or ‘journey’ perspective. However, as these three real examples below show reviewing the experience from a ‘scenario’ perspective can throw up unplanned experiences. This also demonstrates how evident it is when a brand has a customer experience ‘programme’ rather than a deep rooted philosophical belief. Otherwise the way these ‘unforeseen’ experiences are dealt with would have been very different.
There are brands who do make the most of these misfortunes. If you want to know how to turn blind spots into brand differentiating experiences get in contact. But for now I hope you enjoy these three examples.
Specsavers ‘managing’ operational issues from the front line
I popped in to the store for a pre-booked contact lens test. It was very good in terms of the service and overall experience, as ever. However, I couldn’t help but notice a post it on all the monitors. It read, ‘Please quote 10 days for jobs you would normally quote 7 days.Thanks’.
Managing customer expectations effectively is a key attribute of CX, but hanging this type of message out in front of customers festers a worry that everything said before and after by the staff isn’t quite true, even if it was meant with good and helpful intentions.
Without brand and quality control on board, the delivery of a customer experience will be inconsistent at best but can turn lawless if not contained. The interpretation of this experience by the consumer will then impact a new lesser perception of the brand, even if the intention of the CX delivery of the brand was entirely different.
Santander saying ‘sorry’ with a scrap of paper
On my way to Specsavers I intended to get some cash out for a coffee later. But on passing the Santander ATM I was confronted with a usual modern sight; a faulty ATM. But rather than the usual screen denial message there was a personal note applied by the store.
it read, ‘please accept our apologies – this cash machine is not dispensing cash at the moment. Engineer on the way.’ All very good you might say. But considering this was more noticeable than the high gloss, high budget ads which hung in the branch window, it was delivered on a tatty and ripped scrap of paper.
So why doesn’t it have a ‘brand approved’ execution too? After all this is a regular occurrence. If I was heading in to discuss a current account would a seed of doubt have been planted? Possibly. Would it be enough to stop me? Possibly.
Costa’s Muffin creates such a buzz, I headed to Nero
Having completed my eye test I popped into Costa Coffee to grab a coffee and a muffin to take back to the office. However, I traced the buzz of the fly to a muffin being displayed in a large glass container. It is designed so that a customer can’t get their hand to the cakes. Okay, it may be just me, but on a cool October morning when you hear the buzz of a fly you think the worse in a restaurant or coffee shop. I had no idea how long the fly had been having a field day on the muffins or anything else I could have changed my order to. The barista were oblivious to it which again suggested they were worringly used to it.
The reality was probably very different. The fly had probably only just arrived, the barista probably hadn’t seen it but would get rid of it as soon as they did and the fly ‘brushing’ my muffin would make no difference to my eating pleasure. However, reality counts for little where perception is concerned.
The impact was made on my experience. I left the store and headed across to Nero which had no flies, or at least had dealt with them before I arrived so I was none the wiser. Flies are attracted to cakes and coffee so surely the scenario should have a CX response drilled into the Batista to reassure customers of brand quality standards.
In summary, none of us are perfect, but we need to plan to be more so
As consumers we can’t ‘un-see’ these sorts of things. They invariably play a part in our assessment of that brand and our future consideration of it. Therefore, making sure everyone from the boardroom, to the brand team to the ‘brigade’ on the front line are in on the joke. Make sure you look for the blind spots as well as the blindingly obvious if you want the customer experience delivery to be a differentiation rather than a detraction.
Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director, Lexden
Lexden is an independent customer experience consultancy practice. We help clients deliver greater profit through more effective customer experience practices.
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