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Is One of Your Top 10 Memorable Moments Your Worst Customer Experience?

Key Life Moments and the Experience Connection

I think that your worst service experience ever is probably just as memorable as other key moments in your life, like the day you got married or the day you graduated from college. Just think about that. We have experiences with different companies nearly every day.

You log into your online banking account, you visit the grocery store, you run through the drive thru at a coffee shop.  With all of the millions of experiences that you’ve already had in your life, isn’t it amazing that you can most likely remember your worst customer experience ever in detail? And in some cases, while tempered a bit, just talking about your experience evoked the same emotions you had then.

Let me tell you about my worst customer experience ever:

Twenty years ago, (yes 2-0), my new husband and I moved to St. Louis. One of our first purchases was a washer and dryer and it was to be delivered the day after we moved into our new home. Of course, the delivery service for the company gave us a three-hour window when the appliances would be delivered – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. No problem. I went grocery shopping at 8:00 a.m., just for a few things and arrived back home at 8:55 a.m.

On my front door was a slip of paper saying that I had missed my delivery. I must have just missed them, so I called the number of the slip. I was informed that the truck could not turn around and that deliveries were scheduled in order and my next delivery date was in 10 days. WHAT!!!

Nothing I could say changed the outcome. No washer or dryer for 10 days and at least two laundromat visits were in my future. I’ll honestly never forget that day, the experience, or the outcome. I’ve never visited or purchased anything from that store again, and still will not even 20 years later.

Since I work in the customer experience measurement and management business, I often think about how things would have been different if:

  • The company asked for my feedback and I provided it
  • The delivery service came during their window, turned around, or scheduled a time later that day to come back
  • The delivery person and the call center associated with the company knew and cared how much this impacted my life

Realizing the Power of a Data-Driven Frontline Employee

Recently, I had the opportunity to host a webinar with my colleague, Jesse Stout, on Realizing the Power of a Data-Driven Frontline Employee

I talked about how to engage your frontline employees in your CX program and in creating a customer-centric culture. Bad customer experiences with your company’s frontline employees can be brand killers. In some cases, it may only take one bad experience for customers to be turned off.

Here’s what I would tell that company today:

  • Customer-centricity is important, especially with employees who are interacting with your customers. Make sure that your employees consider customers in what they do. Expect employees to be considerate and empathetic of customers.
  • Share feedback immediately with the frontline. They need to know when they do well, or when customers are not happy with the experience.
  • Set expectations for how customer feedback will be used. If not the frontline, someone at the organization should be following up with customers based on the feedback they provided. When I think about the real reason that I do not patronage the “company that should not be mentioned” it is because they never followed up with me or acted like they cared, even when I eventually cancelled the order and purchased a washer and dryer from another company.
  • Your frontline employees are the face of your organization. If your customers are not having great experiences at the front line, it will not matter how great your company’s products and services are. Bad delivery experience, negative experience with the driver, and unhelpful experience with the company’s call center ended my relationship.

Three Ways to Build Exceptional Front-Line Experiences

As you think about how to build a great frontline customer experience, consider the three takeaways from our recent webinar:

  1. Your frontline employees are your company’s most valuable assets in understanding customer experiences. Clarification, your frontline employees can either be your most valuable assets in customer experience OR they can be your ultimate brand killers.
  2. Successful CX programs establish 2-way information sharing with frontline. Information is king or queen. Sharing customer feedback will give your frontline the information they need to continue to provide great experience and/or opportunities to improve and evolve shortcomings. Also, asking for feedback from your employees is just as important.
  3. Expectations for reviewing and taking action on feedback is critical to frontline engagement and empowerment. Be clear about your expectations related to customer experience. You are relying on your frontline to deliver great experiences to customers. Make sure they know what you expect and support and empower them to always drive the best experiences possible.

Learn more by listening to the on-Demand Webinar, Realizing the Power of a Data-Driven Frontline Employee, and continue to visit and subscribe to our CX Café newsletters.