Is true customer experience a thing of the past? Or is it only an electronic function offered through an App?
Having worked at two specific companies that from my internal experience, truly put the customer first and cared about the experience their customers received, I find it shocking to see and experience the general degradation of customer experience these days. Is it the lack of training or just the excessive social media age?
Here’s a couple of recent examples….
- Lined up at the ticketing counter for an airline with 25 or more other customers waiting in line. Not a ticketing agent in sight. All other airline counters have 2-3 agents standing by. No customers in their lines. Ok sure, most likely our ticketing agents were departing a plane at the gate. However, why not have a sign advising when they will be back? After 15 or 20 minutes, four agents appeared. They sauntered out from behind the public area, busy looking at their phones, not a smile or friendly gesture to their customers at all. They went to their respective counter and preceded to hammer on their keyboards, send text messages on their phones and slowly one at a time, say “Next”. They really made you feel like we were imposing on them and were an inconvenience. And this airline brags how their employees are “owners”!
- Ordered a tool on-line. It arrived damaged. Reported it as such to the supplier. Their response was very quick, which is great. I then had to provide pictures of the damage so they could be sure it actually was. Ok, I get that. Provide the pictures and they respond with, “How would you like us to rectify this situation?”. Ok, I guess I could request my money back or a replacement, so fair question, however I had already requested a replacement. I respond with replacement. Their response, “Ok but only if you promise to leave a positive customer review on the website”. By the way, I received the second tool and it too was damaged. At that point I said we both need to cut our loses here. The suppliers response, “Ok. We apologize for this situation. We’ll let our supplier know about this in case they are having a manufacturing issue.” No refund offered.
- Then there are multiple examples in coffee shops and fast food restaurants where going in for service can be an interesting customer experience. Many of these establishments don’t seem to train their staff on how to be friendly, let alone what their role is in providing a positive customer experience. It seems in this day and age, going in to these restaurants rather than the drive through is a major inconvenience for the staff! It’s astounding how Chick-Fil-A can build a franchise from being customer focused and provide a friendly and polite customer experience!
These experiences are not all that bad I realize, but they are not good either. I’m sure you have equally or even worse examples! So why is this the way things are today? Why is a good customer experience more rare then it is common?
My view point, it’s the way the employees are treated and is an indication of the level of engagement they have in their workplace. In the companies that I’ve experienced strong customer experience levels, not only does the company say that the customer experience is paramount, they also demonstrate it through action. However, it goes beyond this. The difference is how these companies engage on an on-going basis with all levels of their organization in a number of ways, but first is by putting their employees first. If the employees are safe, respected, and engaged they will want to be a force behind providing a very positive customer experience, every time!
What’s your organizational culture like and does it align to your customers expectations for service and experience?
Do your employees collect a pay cheque and check out?
So sure, we all want the cool Apps that provide us with fast and easy ordering, service and delivery, but it seems that too many companies have forgotten that behind their Apps, the culture they create through the level and type of engagement they have with their employees still makes the difference for a positive customer experience!
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