The Satisfaction Challenge
I have been there. The angry customer screaming in my face as a teenager – belittling me, calling me names and telling me that I work in a dead-end job with no future. All this spit flying screaming due to the customer’s miscalculation of the sales tax by a single penny and blaming it on me (even though it was computed correctly and by the computer).
I have also been there having a bad day, with nothing seeming to go correctly. Suddenly snapping at a regular customer out of frustration of everything else going wrong – and a customer asking me a question “at the wrong time” resulted in my lousy attitude directed at that customer.
I have been under the direction of a manager that recognized the isolated, unusual outburst and instead of a harsh reprimand just a temporary reassignment from cashier to moving stock in the backroom so I would not have to respond to customer requests. No damage to my otherwise clean service record and not being sent home to “think about my actions.” Just a reprieve.
I have also been under a manager that has cursed at me in front of a customer for an ordering mistake made by that very same manager and being told not to say another word so the manager could save face, then proceeded to write a disciplinary report on me because I “did not do enough” to make him look better in the eyes of the customer at my own expense.
It is difficult to meet all the customer experience challenges when it comes to meeting customers’ expectations, receiving the necessary support from managers and the company and, of course, maneuvering through all the unexpected challenges that can come up.
The Occasional Fail
You will inevitably fail if your customer experience strategy includes perfect scores across every customer touchpoint. You may blame it on your customer experience software platform and feel that the sentiment analysis is not providing the necessary insights across the entire customer journey. Ultimately, even the best customer experience will have the occasional fail. This should be expected.
Sometimes, as I’ve described above, it can even help the employee experience when failure happens. If the customer feedback loop is in place and used correctly, a service breakdown can become a teachable moment with the right manager in place. It can also help to discover where your offer may not wholly meet the customers’ expectations or a new feature is needed to be competitive. This can be especially important and relevant in a B2B focused environment.
Your Voice-of-the-Customer program should be about pursuing perfection by doing what is right for the customer, the employee and the company.
Yes, the occasional failure can remind you to try to do better. It can be a reminder that perfection is unattainable. In the absence of perfection, there is the continuous pursuit of that perfection. Not as a stick, but rather as a carrot.
Everyday Pursuit of Perfect Professionalism
Too often, we look at that pursuit of perfection using financial linkage and social media analyses. It becomes all about the simple things, the common sense items. It makes me think about the Aloha spirit that we often talk about here where I live.
For example, let us take a drive in heavy, tourist-laden traffic for a moment. Let that car pull in front of you during the rush hours, a friendly wave of thanks when someone does that for you, slowing down – the car and mentally.
Those little things will improve for those around you and even for yourself when you let it happen. You may even get yourself a boost of dopamine after doing something like that, the recipient may feel the same. You are now feeling that thing we call the Aloha spirit.
Taking that approach in your business will have the same effect. Customers will not expect perfection, but they’ll appreciate that attempt – even on the worst days. A manager with the same spirit will notice where an employee is just having a bad day, versus a track record of excellent customer service. Employees will feel they have the support necessary to do their jobs properly.
It always starts with those small steps, the small steps as the goal, not perfection, is what will get you even closer. If you are down by two scores in a soccer match, you have to get back one at a time before you can worry about getting the winning goal.
Embed your organization first with that spirit, and then you will be ready to measure and see how close you are to achieving perfection.