Customer Experience: What We Need Now is People Being Nice to One Another

Well it’s been quite a few days here in the UK: there are more questions than answers, and uncertainty – the enemy of business confidence and growth – seems set to be with us for at least the next few months, if not years.

So what should business do for the best?2016-06-23 19.53.03

I had two experiences last week that showed, simply yet dramatically, where business’ focus should be over the foreseeable future: on engaging and empowering people to deliver memorable Customer Experiences.

My first experience was in a pub, on the evening of the EU Referendum. Arriving early, I ordered a drink and enjoyed a brief conversation with the friendly barman while he poured it for me. Twenty minutes later my two companions arrived. Having obtained their drinks order I returned to the bar, which by this time was busy, although I noted that the barman was maintaining a lively interaction with his waiting customers as he served their drinks. Then it was my turn to be served – at which point I noticed two drinks already sitting on the bar.

I hope you don’t mind,” said the barman, “I  overheard your order, so I got it ready for you.”

“Mind!”, I replied, “You’ve made my evening!” And so he had – that spontaneous act, anticipating my order and having it ready for me before I’d asked for it was, genuinely, a “magic moment”.

Two days later, I returned to my local branch of a well-known coffee shop, after an absence2016-06-25 15.12.45 of several weeks. As soon as I arrived at the counter, the barista, a young Italian, beamed at me. “How lovely to see you again,” she said, “How have you been?”

There followed a delightful, short conversation as she prepared my order. At the end of it, she made my day:

Your flat white is on the house,” said the barista, “Enjoy!”

These two moments of spontaneous, personalised service genuinely lifted my spirits – not just because they were in need of lifting, but because they emphasised that great business is founded on human beings, being nice to one another: lose that, and you lose everything. Celebrate and nurture that, and the world is yours.

What to do about it:

Those two magical moments  not only exemplify the milk of human kindness, but also two businesses where a great culture supports, and is supported by, systems that result in engaged team members delivering apparently spontaneous, personalised service, guaranteed to build customer loyalty, repeat business and referrals.

STARS Customer Experience Model
STARS Customer Experience Model

Having studied, led and facilitated world class service cultures for over 25 years, I’ve distilled the learnings and experience into my “Project STARS” customer-centric organisation model, which examines the five aspects that shape world-class customer experiences and performance.

We’ve had a lot of “Project Fear” over the past few months. It’s time for “Project STARS” to help businesses focus on fundamentals and thrive amid the chaos. Do get in touch to find out more.


Stephen Spencer is a keynote speaker, business coach and consultant, helping organisations create better Customer Experiences to unlock team and profit potential. He has over 25 years’ experience as a leader, trainer and experience developer with some of the UK’s most prestigious Retail, Tourism and Hospitality brands. Sign up for Stephen’s POSITIVE Customer Experience newsletter here.

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