Customer Experience: 82%? This is Our Life!

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life.”
– Steve Jobs

I stayed in an above-average, boutique-ish hotel this week. The directions to the car park were ambiguous, so before checking in I had to abandon the car, run into Reception, and ask how to find the car park. When I returned, having parked, to check in, I noticed that the receptionist didn’t ask me whether I had found the car park.

Then I noticed a plaque on the wall, behind Reception. It said: “2014 Award of Excellence. As honoured by our Guests. 8.2/10.”

It struck me that 8.2/10 – 82% – was not necessarily something to shout about; not really something to be deemed an “honour”.

Customer Experience: It Started With a Smile…

It’s often said that we don’t “do” Customer Service in this country. In response, I’d say that it’s not rocket science: it starts with a smile, a warm glow, a sense of being valued…and an increased propensity to buy, return, and/or recommend. If you want your Team members to be engaged, and productive, then, you too must be prepared to smile, as you exhort them, “Smile, dammit, smile!”

That Was The (National Customer Service Week) That Was!

Our latest newsletter (henceforth to be known as the Customer Experience Expert Briefing) is out: you can read it here.

On National Poetry Day (celebrated, it has to be said, with rather more enthusiasm and profile than National Customer Service Week). I heard on the radio about a brilliant website featuring pop songs re-written as Shakespearean sonnets. I decided, as a tribute both to Poetry and Customer Service, to write a sonnet on the subject of Customer Service…

Three Ways to Know Customers Better

I’ve just read an interesting article about how Top Shop is using technology to redesign its stores based on customers’ use of smartphones. Apparently “the system will allow retailers, shopping centres and other venues to gain easier access to customer movement data and to more effectively monetise their assets”. OK – so that’s one way to know Customers better: as some supermarket chains are also doing, you can use technology to monitor their movements, and what, and when, they buy. Then you can realign your store accordingly.

The problem with that approach, is that you will learn what they buy, but not why they buy.

Customer Experience: Send in the Robots?

In a week when a new survey suggests that Sales and Retail Assistants are “95% likely” to be replaced by robots, I’d suggest that whilst technology has its place in facilitating the Customer Experience, there is (or should be) no substitute for human interaction. My vision for what that interaction should look like is displayed on the homepage of my website: “The wave of enthusiasm from a team of people in love with what they do, who have created a sensational stage for their product, and who can’t wait to attend to every customer desire as they facilitate the ultimate buying experience”

Whilst retailers scratch their heads as they contemplate the impact of the new National Living Wage, and struggle to justify the running costs across their sprawling property portfolios, the answer is staring them in the face…

Customer Service: Britain’s Tourism Iceberg

Britain’s image overseas ranks three in the world as a “nation brand” (behind Germany and the USA), yet for “quality of welcome” we are limping in 13th place. whilst London 2012 unsurprisingly boosted our ranking, we have now fallen back to where we were in those dark, pessimistic, pre-Olympics days. In my view, this situation is akin to a rapidly-approaching iceberg, which threatens to hole the good ship GREAT Britain below the waterline. If we are really perceived as so unwelcoming, we should not take comfort from our overall ranking. As we all know, service drives satisfaction and loyalty, and if we are not delivering world class service we cannot take our current popularity for granted.

Banks: That Don’t Impress Me Much…

The news that RBS and its subsidiary NatWest is opening 34 branches (out of approximately 2,300) across the UK on the Early May Bank Holiday has made me strangely angry, and with your consent I’d feel much better for a short(-ish) rant. If there’s one thing that annoys me more than poor Customer Service, it’s the claims of (usually) very large organisations to be “focusing on the Customer” and making (usually) tiny improvements to their Customer Experience.