A startling national Australian study has revealed that the perceived service standards of the business owners and managers vs the experience that the customers receive can be very different indeed. In fact it appears there is a huge gap!
The studies released by consumer commentator Barry Urquhart, show 82% of business owner and manager respondents stating that the service offered by their businesses was either “good”, “very good” or “exceptional”.
Customers didn’t agree. Only 8% nominated one of those three categories in their assessment of service standards in Australia.
So what exactly does the term ‘customer experience’ mean?
The customer experience is the sum of all experiences the customer has with you over the duration of their relationship with you.
The customer experience is made up of many Moments of Truth, as defined by Jan Carlzon in 1984; any moment that a customer comes into contact with your organisation and receives an impression of your standard of service.
A remarkable moment of truth occurred for me recently with Dick Smith. I had purchased a presenter pen which I’d had to return due to a fault. I received the replacement item and was packing it in my ‘toolbox’ at 5.15pm ready for a presentation the next morning at 7.30am, when I noticed a battery was missing. It was an unusual type of battery so I wasn’t able to pop out to the corner store to grab another. My first response was to grumble about it, but then decided to be proactive and call the store to see what they could do. Explaining my situation, the young manager was focused on a solution for me, rather than worrying about the effort it could cost them. Within half an hour, an assistant arrived at my door with a smile and a new battery.
Imagine how many moments of truth there could be in the lifetime of YOUR customers! Even in just one transaction it could start with the call being answered – or not answered in a timely manner, a call not returned or a promise not followed through on, difficulty finding information on the website, an interaction with a sales or service person, then accounts and even after sales/service follow up – or not. In the lifetime of that customer there could be hundreds or even thousands of moments of truth.
So that we can create an exceptional customer experience it’s crucial that our customers’ every moment of truth is consistently above the line. It doesn’t take much to convert an ordinary customer experience to an extraordinary customer experience. All it takes is a little extra. Perhaps a smile, a thank you, going the extra mile for a customer in need, listening more and speaking less, asking them at the end of the call if there’s anything else you can do for them, focusing more on the caller and less on the other things you were doing when the phone rang…there a numerous little extras and if you think very carefully for a few moments you will come up with something that you can easily do.
What little extra will you do today?