”Once is the limit, twice is the law.” Now please tell me; how far past the law have we gone? As usual, I’m back again with more information on Customer Experience but this time I have to vent, bear with me for a bit.
Last week I went to a local Government office to retrieve a document. I was instructed to collect it via email, went there and the first thing that I was met with was, “what y’all here for?” Ex-squeeze-me? Nonetheless, I answered the question and was questioned further to see if I was sure that I was supposed to be there. Subsequently, I went to the window to collect the document and was told, “oh no, y’all ain’t supposed to be here, go to [a particular location elsewhere]”. For clarity’s sake, I inquired as to the specific location of the next stop. It was a good thing that I did because otherwise I would have ended up on a wild goose chase. Did you see anything wrong in that scenario? Allow me to share another experience.
On Friday I went to a local ophthalmologist to purchase some fancy apparatus for my eyes-don’t get old folks, it’s too expensive. The time came for me to put down the deposit and I pulled out my bank card to pay, inserted it and then typed in my pin. Now, as a rule I always feel a tingle of nervousness when waiting for my card to be approved. But, as we’re practicing financial literacy in this season, I know what I have on ALL of my accounts. Therefore, you can only imagine my shock when I was told that my card was declined! Irritated, I politely called my bank to find out why they were trying to embarrass me on my Father’s good Friday. I was told, “ Ms. Drakes, it seems that a new card was issued this week. Other clients have been having this same problem also, we can’t tell you exactly what the issue is but if you call back tomorrow we should know by then.” Sorry what?! I have to call you back? I don’t want to call y’all back! Y’all call me; email me; send a carrier pigeon or something. It’s not my fault that your systems are malfunctioning right now. Ok so what have we learned?
To begin, the laid back attitude that has come to be associated with our culture is widely accepted as normal. Normal though it may be, it isn’t right. As professionals it should be our goal to put our customers at ease. How do you feel when you enter an office and not a single word is uttered to you as a greeting? Then, when you make an inquiry you’re given a look as if you shouldn‘t be asking any questions. This should go without saying, but, what we should do is greet our customers once they have entered the establishment. If they are confused as to the next step, then preempt that by putting clear signs up or having a role that specifically is directed toward providing that sort of information to customers. Remember, when we speak of the customer experience we‘re not just referring to one interaction, but the entire relationship that a customer has with a brand. Therefore from the minute a person walks through your door their journey with you has begun; whatever impression that they first have sets the tone for how they view your business. To illustrate, we aren’t working from a brick and mortar location currently, so our website and social media accounts are the face of our business. For months we have been painstakingly ensuring that the website was one that would delight not frustrate. This is because we know that once our customers see that landing page the impression will have already been made. We are resolved to make those interactions count; we urge you to do the same.
Also, sometimes there will be things that happen that are out of our control. For instance, the bank representative that I spoke with wasn’t personally responsible for the inconvenience that I faced. However, was there a better way that the situation could have been handled? For one, every time that I am to receive a new card from another local bank, I’m notified via email well in advance. Are there any changes taking place at your business? Why not take the initiative to inform your clients prior to making those changes; trust me they’ll appreciate it. By doing this you’ll be proactive as opposed to reactive. Though a small thing, this is an act that can set your business apart. Additionally, when that lady said that I could call them back the following day I was not happy. I’ll tell you why. I know when my card expires, therefore, there should have been no reason for me to call that bank about my card anytime soon. I did call, however, because there was a discrepancy; only to find out that they made a mistake. And so why should I have to call back for you to explain your shortcomings to me? You have my email, you even have my number. My point? There will be times when we will irritate our clients, it most likely won’t be intentional but it will happen. The merit is in how we deal with those irritating moments. Why not offer to take the initiative in returning a call or maybe even offer some form of compensation? The beauty of the customer experience done right is that the options are endless when it comes to pleasing the customer. As an example, at 1OAK one of our goals is for me to call each new customer with a special welcome message. There are a million and one people who may do the same thing that we do, however, that’s of no consequence because we believe in being one of a kind. How about you?