In my first blog Customer Experience is more than just Customer Service, I suggested one of the essential steps to creating happy customers was to conduct regular assessments to ensure the standards you’re aiming for are being maintained. I call this process a Customer WalkTM and in this article, I’d like to unpack that a little more.
Typically, when asked, most business owners and managers believe they are doing a pretty good job in the Customer Service stakes. They confidently suggest the experiences they provide are great and they don’t need any help in that area. Sadly however, in most cases, perception is quite different to reality.
80% of companies say they deliver “superior”
customer service, 8% of their customers agree!
Source: “Customer Service Hell” by Brad Tuttle, Time, 2011
So how do they get this so wrong? If most people are walking away seemingly happy with the service provided, why is there such a vast difference between these two numbers?
Well, it’s mostly due to the fact that:
96% of dissatisfied customers never complain. Only
4% of consumers will bother to tell us we didn't tick
all the boxes that matter to them!
Source: Australian Institute of Management
Sadly, one thing you can count on, is that unhappy customers will talk more about their experience than happy ones.
In this time where Social Media and online reviews play such a massive role in how people decide who they are going to do business with, it’s absolutely critical that you make every effort to ensure your customers have no reason to leave anything less than 100% satisfied with not just the product or service they have purchased from you but the whole buying experience.It’s crucial to have a structured plan that will deliver experiences that make every customer feel they’ve been treated like a VIP Guest.
In his book “Moments of Truth”, Jan Carlzon talked about the many opportunities we have to create an impression on our customers throughout a normal interaction or transaction.
In the book, he defines a Moment of Truth as:
“A unique never to be repeated opportunity
to make an impression on a customer.”
As President of Scandinavian Airlines, he commissioned a study of the average experience of an airline passenger. In an effort to understand just how many times during that process a passenger might be impressed or disappointed, the study documented every detail of an airline experience.
You might think all that really mattered was that they arrived safely with their luggage at their destination and that in doing so the passengers would all be happy and satisfied customers.
In reality though, there were numerous other issues that also impacted on whether or not the passengers left the airport feeling happy with their experience. Even some seemingly insignificant concerns had passengers grumbling as they stood waiting for their luggage.
And as it turned out, there were more than 300 moments that had the capacity to either positively or negatively influence the passenger’s emotional reaction to their experience before, during and after the flight.
This study of airline passengers proved that it is necessary to look well beyond the delivery of just the major service points and that even the far less significant details that are relevant to all, some or even just a few of your customers, must also be taken into consideration.
So, as you develop the assessment checklist for your Customer WalkTM, it’s important to consider all Moments of Truth relevant to your business, your industry, your customers and the wider market.
I recommend you include the following categories and consider as many factors as you can for each that may impact the experience your customers have when dealing with you and your team.
Be sure to take into account not only the universal customer concerns but also the industry specific issues and on a more personal level, the issues surrounding your own staff, your premises and the demographic of your local market.
If you’re a franchisee, it's also important to include any brand specific concerns that may be required by your franchise agreement.
The key to success is in seeking to understand your customers’ expectations for each of these Moments of Truth and establishing standards for each that will hopefully provide them with a desirable experience. Regular assessments of how well those standards are being maintained simply gives you a mechanism to make sure you stay on track.
In my last article, People Champions … The key to sustainable success I shared the finding that:
A 5% increase in Customer Retention
can increase your profit by 25 - 95%
Source: Bain & Co. + Harvard Business Review Research
There is no doubt that the strongest opportunity for enhanced Customer Loyalty is to make sure you provide them with experiences that they’ll want to come back for and tell others about.
With the hectic pace of many frontline roles, staff can often become focussed on their daily routines and lose sight of the many factors that would likely contribute to a better standard of personal service being practiced on a regular basis.
So, it makes every sense that you take the time to identify ALL the ‘customer boxes’ that need to be ‘ticked’ and regularly check that you’re doing so in the best possible way.
“You cannot improve one thing by 1000%
but you can improve 1000 little things by 1%.”
For more information on this topic and how you can create your own Customer Walk Self-Assessment Tool, please contact the author.