I’m continually amazed by the number of people I meet who are oblivious to their experiences as a customer. In training sessions I often ask people to recall situations when they have had a great customer experience and the number who can’t think of one is incredible. Is it that they have never had a great experience or maybe they are just not tuned into what is good, bad, or indifferent?
Over the years I have become more sensitised to my experiences in shops, restaurants in health care and the like, mainly so I can tell the stories. One of my favourites was at John Lewis (a major department store) at Christmas. After weeks of my haranguing my family for ideas of what they might want as a Christmas gift I finally had a list. Ideally I would have liked this before the end of November, not because I’m super organised, but I like to be able to point to the pile of wrapped presents and gloat to anyone who may care to listen. This particularly annoys my wife, children, mother, work colleagues, friends, neighbours and the postman who all seem to love the pressure of last minute festive shopping. Armed with the list I set off to execute this important aspect of Christmas preparation in one day.
First was an electric razor, no description, make, model or clues, it just said ‘electric razor’. When one is doing Christmas in a day you can’t hang around, so I tried to do it all in John Lewis’. I raced into the electrical department and went to pick up a razor. Disaster! There were about 40 different models! Purchasing is easy, choosing is not; I collect, I don’t do shopping. At this point in blind panic I start reading the labels, wet, dry, beard trimmer, with or without vibration, swivel heads, floating heads and all this before you tackle the colour! Within seconds my saviour arrived. ‘Would you like some help sir?’ Brilliant. A short time later I had made my selection only to find that the one I set my heart on was out of stock. I was by now however emotionally attached to this particular model of electric razor. The vision of it being unwrapped on Christmas Day and the joy it would bring was now implanted. What was I to do?
My experience then got even better. Although it was out of stock in this store they had one in another store hundreds of miles away. Since I would be unable to come back to collect it they would deliver it free of postal charge to my home. Two days later it was wrapped and tucked away for Christmas Day.
Why was this a brilliant experience? I got the help I needed, when I needed it, with the assistant reading my every need. When they were unable to deliver, there was a solution. My experience was at the forefront of their minds throughout the transaction. If only the rest of the day had been so great!