The Secret Sauce to a Superior Customer Experience
A superior customer experience is rare. I travel often. As a result, I live the best and worst customer experience’s companies have to offer. The poor examples outnumber the good.
For example, recently I was going from Minneapolis to NYC. The plane was late, and the attendants crabby. When I got to my hotel, the clerk seemed annoyed with me. He acted more tired than I was. Chalk one up for mediocre service. Maybe you take the corporate jet, and this is not a concern. But I am sure that you buy “stuff” with your money at a variety of places, and it does not take long to experience service breakdowns, does it?
Quickly customers everywhere encounter the following:
- Discourteous rude employees.
- Unresponsiveness zombie-like employees.
- Customer service reps that can’t make a decision.
- Excessive delays on the phone.
- Untrained employees.
- Too many options on phone calls.
- Lack of complaint resolution online and in-person.
- Dinosaur service policies that do not help.
- Confusing service options on websites.
- Automated chat services that cannot help and overall slow responses.
- Websites that are unresponsive or marketed products that are unavailable.
How do the above play out in organizations? For example, Target consistently is out of stock on items, and has website problems. Kroger employees seldom ask you if you need help, you must find someone to help. Delta Airlines employees never seem to be happy. They are like robots doing their jobs. Walmart stores are often dirty, the aisles are cluttered, and the employees going through motions. Comcast has continual technology problems. Wells Fargo has a poor reputation because of recent scandals. Customer support is not their priority.
This list could go on, but let’s not get depressed. Sometimes I wonder what these organizations are thinking. Did they plan for their employees to do a poor job? Do they just not know what to do? Do they care? Are they stupid?!
A Superior Customer Experience Pays
I receive the American Customer Satisfaction Indexes (ACSI) monthly reports. The average customer satisfaction rating is 77.0. This is a “C” grade at best. Currently, the overall rating for over 500 corporations took a dive to 73.4.
Consequently, I wouldn’t give the two companies mentioned above that high a rating. It’s too bad that so many companies have poor service or, at best, average service. Research shows us that the top service companies have higher sales growth and profits over time. Check out the PIMS Database, US Office of Consumer Affairs, Forrester, Bain and ACSI. Intuitively, we all know it is common sense. Furthermore, companies with awesome service have higher customer loyalty and financial success. Superior service pays.
Keys to the Secret Sauce for a Superior Customer Experience
Instead of working to improve, it seems like everyone keeps surveying customers for even more feedback. However, little changes. Or, they keep adding new technology to fix things, but all the new stuff creates additional problems.
Companies need to stop spending millions of dollars on customer surveys for data that isn’t used. Instead, why not invest in applying the data to create customer driven processes and teams? It is obvious that few companies do this. Why not survey and measure less. Then, spend significantly more time and money improving, updating, and changing processes. And training, coaching, recognizing, and supporting your employee teams so they become superstars.
Secret Sauce #2 Ingredient
What if company managers treated the employees like Olympic athletes? In our technology driven society this next sentence may be a radical thought. Become people focused, not system focused. Imagine if we made employees the heroes of the business? They would come up with super ideas for improvement. In addition, I believe they would serve customers in grand style, don’t you? They would do it because they want to not that they have to. These are the two ingredients to the “secret sauce” for a superior customer experience that so many companies have discounted or forgotten.
Pulling It All Together
Finally, Jeff Bezos of Amazon says, “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” Walt Disney added, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” I just had to share these words of wisdom. I hope you or your organization consider the secret sauce to a superior customer experience. Your career and your company’s survival may depend on it.
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