Some stories stick with you
Like many, I had my first taste of a vacation and what it might be like post-COVID. It was only a few days, revolved completely around my kids and was interrupted frequently by work. It has been a while since I got to hit the open road (there isn’t much of that where I live anyhow) and just went out to enjoy some sights and attractions.
On the flip side, there were plenty of travel pitfalls that you tend to forget about until you are back to them. Flight disruptions, overwhelmed customer service agents, waits for in-demand rental cars and hotel rooms that haven’t thoroughly been cleaned.
Despite all those bumps in the proverbial (and literal) road, there was one story that stood out to me this week amongst all my travels insofar that I ended up visiting a business twice that I had avoided for years.
The many faces of advocacy
It really comes down to some events of my Saturday evening. As I got in nearly four hours later than expected to my old hometown, I was rushing about to prepare for the weeks’ events. For me it was settling into the hotel to work for the week, for the kids it was making plans to visit with friends, many of whom they hadn’t seen since the outbreak of the pandemic.
As I came across the third store for which I was looking for a specific product – something I can’t get on the islands – I was disappointed to see it wasn’t available for the third time. With a casual comment to the person next to me, he smiled back and told me he couldn’t find what he was looking for either – but that nothing was going to bring his spirits down. Inquiring further, he told me he just finished up his shift and received word that he was promoted for all his efforts during the pandemic, living up to a promise that was made to him. I was so impressed with the amount of joy he was expressing, and it really made me smile that I was the second person with whom he shared this news, the first being his girlfriend that picked him up from work. A short conversation turned into ten minutes of sharing experiences working with retailers and some of the many lessons learned.
At the end of this conversation, despite knowing that I certainly have the means, he insisted that he buy my purchase. It was only one bottle of water, but for him it was like buying a round of drinks for everyone in the convenience store.
As we parted ways, he said to me “you should stop in at my store, I think we have what you’re looking for”. It was “my” that caught my attention: he embraced it as his, smiled when he talked about it and – most importantly – was an advocate for his store.
CX and EX have strong ties
It is sometimes easy to see things only from the perspective from which we know them. We all have our own definitions for “customer experience”, “loyalty” and even “employee experience”. They are shaped and formed by our individual experiences – both good and bad. Even more nuanced, some experiences we take for granted.
When I look at customer experience, I frequently talk about things such as NPS+, dashboards and closed-loop feedback. They are a key part of the CX Strategy just as much as the little details we don’t frequently discuss like reporting hierarchy and custom variables.
Customer Experience is ultimately about a promise made to customers and the delivery of those experiences by the Employees. When all of them are working together, it can create an extremely positive outcome. In this situation, this employee’s advocacy of his company resulted in me visiting and finding what I was looking for. Since then, I’ve added one more visit because I needed something else, and it was a chance to repay his kindness by patronizing “his” store.