Tuesday Morning CX Thoughts – Ten Years In C-Exile

Losing A (Long Term) Customer

I had been a regular patron to a specialty chain restaurant for many years.  As they had a localized decor, I enjoyed bringing visiting friends and family to my “local” establishment as I also enjoyed visiting the chain in places I visited to see how the presentation was different.

 Along the way, I started noticing small things that made it less enjoyable to visit.  The quality of the food was the first thing I noticed.  Then the service provided took longer, then they tried to rush you out of the ‘experience’ despite their delays.  The staff was noticeably less friendly and my personal dissatisfaction increased with each visit.  Each time I had let them know through their customer satisfaction surveys the areas that they should look at to improve.  I was invested in making the overall experience better, for me and the other customers.  

The last visit was one that would make it into books about how the customer experience can go wrong.  Incorrect orders, cold food, long waits and a server that hurt the situation more than helping it.  It was a terrible experience for me, my family and my guests.  

Too Late for Closing The Loop  

Given the opportunity, I provided my feedback.  However, I really didn’t expect a response as I had not received one previously on several occasions.  I had already decided that the ‘experience’ was not worth the effort, but I was surprised by a call from the manager.  As I explained the history of my experiences, and that I had always brought guests and it was always for special occasions.  I was told that they were trying to change things and in consideration of my feedback, I was offered a gift card of a modest value – less than the cost of a single menu item.

I remember thinking, I would never use that gift card as I would not be visiting that brand due to the ongoing disappointing experiences.  I still haven’t used it and lost it several years ago.  Perhaps if they had leveraged their closed-loop feedback tools a few visits earlier, I would not be talking about this story.

This weekend, we were hosting guests that really wanted to visit the local location here. Before arriving, I remembered that it had been over a decade since I last visited a location.  It was a special occasion visit, so I only went 4 – 6 times a year, but over ten years I would estimate that to be around 50 missed visits.  The business itself went through some struggles in that time, which shouldn’t be a surprise.  

Linking CX to Revenue

The good news to this story is that my visit this weekend was wonderful.  I found a revised menu, updated construction and friendly efficient service.  It was an overall great experience that was 10 years in the making.  

As we finished, I thought about the opportunities they had missed over 10 years, both the experiential and the financial.  It is one of the key reasons to link revenue to customer experience programs.  So much time is spent on setting up a reporting hierarchy and manager dashboards that the goal of customer experience sometimes gets lost in those details.  

At QuestionPro, we make it easy by allowing the custom variables to store that information and continue to build analytical tools that can assess NPS and Churn Risk, but also  bring in those “other metrics” that link metrics to financial outcome.  It brings us to the ultimate goal that came about from the ‘ultimate question’, being a better business and more profitable.  The right CX Strategy can do that for you.  It can even bring back a customer that has been in exile for ten years.