Sunday, February 13, 2011

What's Your Customer Experience Score?

A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.  Similarly, when it comes to providing outstanding customer experience, it is only as good as the weakest link in your service chain (series of customer touch points).  Please allow me to elaborate.

I belong to Sport & Health, a local gym chain.  Equipment is the latest, facilities are clean and well stocked, instructors are experienced and make exercising enjoyable.  Yet the person I see first nearly every time I enter the gym at this particular location has an attitude of indifference.

Too frequently she has her head buried in a book and therefore when I check in, I feel as if I am intruding.  Rarely does she smile, say hello, welcome, have a great work out, have a nice day.  In fact, she often doesn't even look up, no eye contact, no smile.  It's simply a transaction where she scans my entry card and she is so good she can do it without ever taking her head out of the book.  I hate it for it feels so cold to me. No warm and fuzzes what so ever. What otherwise is a good experience is dampened for me as I enter as well as when I leave. Please note that this does not mean she is a bad person.  In fact, I have found her to be a very warm and genuine soul whenever I have engaged in a conversation. Perhaps it's just a matter of wrong role fit,or lack of training, and so on. But that's another topic for another time.

As another example, we use Verizon Wireless at home for our phone, cable and internet service.  Verizon spends millions each year promoting their services. And their network technology is excellent, very reliable, which is important to me.  Yet rarely does a month go by when I don't experience billing errors. 

For Sport & Health, their front desk reception and for Verizon Wireless, their billing system are the weak links in what otherwise are fine organizations.  Improve those areas and the overall customer experience score would increase significantly-at least from my vantage point.  Therefore, to improve your overall customer experience, a great place to begin is to identify your weak links and begin to strengthen them.

So, how do you identify your weak links?

Easy, interview your customers. They'll happily tell you, if you ask.  And as you have interview your customers, patterns will begin to emerge providing you invaluable insights on where to begin.  As you start to improve those areas, your service chain will begin to strengthen, leading to better overall customer experiences, and ultimately higher retention and profitability.  It's the right thing to do and it's good business.  Everyone wins.

Go ahead, do it. It's a great invest of time and resources and the rewards well worth it.  I guarantee it.


Sport & Health said...

Hi Vinay - I sent you an email regarding this. We're very sad to hear that you do not receive the very best customer service when you enter our club. In all fairness, I hope for the opportunity to speak with you at your convenience so we can address your concerns and continue to set a high bar for friendly and efficient customer service.

Vinay Kumar said...

Hello Colleen,

I just received your email and thank you. You just set a example of what I refer to as Service Recovery. We're all human and at times we all slip. When that happens, what's important is how quickly is it addressed. And you clearly are on top of the game and I appreciate your quick follow-up. Great service Colleen. Thank you.