Posts Tagged ‘mystery shops’

don’t allow indifference

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I run in to this a lot:

I go to an establishment with certain expectations which are not met. I look around and note that everyone else seems to be happy with their experience, in fact, the place is packed. Are they receiving OR perceiving a different service or experience than I am, or are they just indifferent?

Last Sunday I went out to eat brunch and watch the Bronco game with a group of friends and it was not a good experience. The server was friendly but not attentive or helpful, they were out of two beers on the menu, they no longer served the “giant cinnamon roll” highlighted as a specialty, the hollandaise sauce was “refrigerator” cold, the eggs were runny and the breakfast burrito did not have any eggs in it. We were generally bummed, but it appeared that everyone around us was generally happy. Could it be that the overarching expectation of most customers was just to be fed, watered and provided a certain level of entertainment? Were their expectations just low enough to make mistakes acceptable?

If that is the case, then what is the motivation for the company owner to improve upon their systems and offer a solid experience? How about this:

Doing good business and making good money means there is an opportunity to do GREAT business and make MORE money.

 

I do not believe the company, employee and customer were aligned. Instead, everyone was operating independently of one another and without similar goals.

How do you approach companies who are doing well despite providing a mediocre customer experience? Are you indifferent?

Customer Experience is Not Tangible

Today I am posting my first official blog representing my new company,
Stance: Customer Experience Exemplified

FIRST LOOK
At Stance, our position is simple and strong: we help companies create positive experiences for their customers. From our standpoint, Customer Experience Management (CEM) is an ongoing journey (a leisurely road trip as opposed to a quick overnighter) during which we observe, address, and implement processes that place your organization, your employees, and your clientele on common ground.

For all intents and purposes, let’s start at the beginning: defining customer experience
and customer experience management.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
The customer experience is not a tangible item. You can’t touch thoughts and feelings and you can’t bend an expectation or a perception. The customer experience is what happens when a customer buys a home or a phone, or orders a meal or gets a massage. The experience starts when the idea enters their mind and it really never ends. Every time a customer gets a massage or orders another meal, they think about the time before and how they wish this time would be different, better, cheaper, easier, faster, more emotional, tastier, friendlier or possibly the same. The experience belongs to the customer. 

It stands to reaason that your company’s brand promise IS the customer’s perception which is based on

  • Expectations
  • Experiences with you and competitors
  • Social interactions which affect the brand (thank you Eric Jacques, Customer Excellence)
  • Word of mouth

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENT (CEM)
Two years ago I said:

“CEM is a customer-centric business strategy that ensures all employees are delivering the company values, mission and brand promise to create a favorable customer experience.”

In April 2010 I said:

“CEM is the ability to meet and exceed the expectations of those with the highest propensity to buy.”

Ron Shevlin, Senior Analyst at Aite Group and author of Marketing Tea Party blog has a knack for consistently pushing me to bend my definition of CEM and go beyond empty industry jargon…..and I like it.

Yesterday, after reading his blog, I upgraded my definition again:

“CEM is improving business processes to include customer perspective to align the employees, the customer and the organization and increase business and reduce losses due to wasteful practices…. and do it better than the competition.”

It sounds so simple.

Processes – without processes companies crumble under pressure (something I forgot I knew and learned from Jennifer Gore – mentor, stepmother and friend) and fail to create optimal customer experiences.  

Customers – without knowing the customer, there is no chance of differentiating from other companies or creating remarkable, memorable and over the top experiences.

CEM is well-traveled by large corporations…but why should they have all the fun? Stance aims to introduce smaller companies to the benefits
of CEM (to be discussed in future blog posts): customer retention, customer referrals and higher profit margins.

Clearly CEM continues to evolve, at least for me. How have your ideals and definitions of CEM evolved over the years?

Thank you for supporting my first blog post. There are many more to come as well as inevitable changes including the new site design which is under way. I look forward to your comments.