Customer Experience: Please See The Attendant

Had the senator-elect driving the black, BMW 7-series known he would be killed before he reached his home in the tony neighborhood of McLean, Virginia, he might have driven a different route. That is the opening sentence of my new novel. I thought about tweeting each sentence as I write it in case any of you wanted to read it.  Freud said nobody is remembered for being normal.  Maybe I am securing my legacy one blog at a time.

Please see the attendant. That was the text displayed on the gas pump’s LED screen.  There was probably a time in my life when I might have considered complying with those instructions, but since I am not a very compliant person, I doubt I would have heeded that directive.  I studied the screen looking for a way to reply—I have money and if you want it, you come see me. That option was not available to me.  And so, I was left with a choice, walk ten feet and see the attendant, or get in my car and drive three miles to the closest gas station.

I had a pleasant three-mile drive.

Great customer experience is so much easier to achieve than companies make it out to be. If you are at all like me, plus or minus a comprehensive psychological evaluation, you don’t suffer fools gladly.  It is important to make a distinction between those delivering the poor experience and those who created the poor experience. Person A is simply a victim.  Person B is the overpaid mastermind who created the experience.

People with whom you are interacting are just following procedures.  Rules.  More often than not, bad rules.  Rules designed to save the offending company a nickel.  When we are affronted by those rules, we know how inane the rules are. We scream silent epitaphs (sic) at the rules. And then we create those same affronting rules for whatever company at which we are employed.

It is possible, albeit improbable, to think in terms of what is best for our customers.  Instead, senior decision makers, after multiple meetings to figure out what is best for the company, come up with rules that ignore the company’s customers.

What most firm’s executives don’t consider are the expectations of their customers.  Customer expectations are not considered because nobody bothered to ask. As a result, the first thing firms do to deal with customer interactions is to build a call center.  Customers call us.  We should build a large room, buy a bunch of phones, and hire a bunch of people to answer customer calls.

You don’t want to call any company you do business with.  Neither do your customers.

So why make them?


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