Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Customer Experience, not Customer Service

Don't focus on customer service!

What would happen if your supervisor told you to not worry about providing customer service?  Would you feel that your supervisor was diving into an illegal stash of something?  I would argue that your supervisor was correct.

Fast food restaurants are great examples of customer service, but few provide the customer experience.  I can go into a local McDonalds for example and I know that the people at the counter will generally be smiling, they will say please and thank you, and they will do their best to make sure your order is correct.  Go down the street to Chick-Fil-A, and customer service is taken to the next level.  It becomes an experience that patrons expect at all of their restaurants.  An example of this is what happens during the lunch hour when the counter comes to the drive thru line.  It could be raining, it could be 115 degrees, it could be freezing cold, and you still get the same level of friendliness, including the customary, "It's my pleasure".

A few years ago, I attended a contact center conference where a Disney trainer was doing a presentation.  One part of the presentation that I remember very vividly was his explanation of the "Tipping the Lamp" philosophy of the Disney Experience.  Essentially what this entailed was every employee, top to bottom, was responsible for the customer experience down to the most basic detail.  For those of us who have had the privilege to spend time in a Disney Park, know that every Disney employee is paying attention to every patron to make sure that their experience meets Disney standards.

Is your organization focused on the customer service, or are you focused on the experience.  How can you tell if you are providing customer service, or are creating an experience for your customers?  Social media can provide you the information you are looking for, if you are looking for it.  Other clues that you are providing a customer experience, you are busy, when others are slow.  Patrons will provide your front line staff with reasons why they are coming in, if you ask them.

Lastly, as leaders, we can impact the customer experience regardless of line of business you are in.  Who are your customers as a leader?  First and foremost, make sure your employees are engaged in meeting the needs of the customer, not just telling the customer what you think they want to hear.

As a leader, I am more concerned about the experience of my customers, not the service.  If we are creating a positive experience and surpassing the customers expectations, then the service aspect takes care of itself.

Have a great rest of the week!

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