Best & Worst Customer Experience: From Known to Unknown
by Kate Nasser |
The best service experience for the customer includes being recognized, being known — treated as a regular valued customer. Whether it’s the bagel shop on the corner that remembers your usual order or the greeting in a high status platinum frequent flier lounge, being known is a great experience.
The worst customer experience is not being unknown; the worst experience is to become unknown.
Do you un-know your known customers? The loss that the customers experience causes a huge loss of trust — often an irreparable break. It often happens during times of change. Here’s a checklist to assess and prevent this descent.
From Known to Unknown
- Have you recently changed business procedures? Do those procedures treat known customers that you can trust as unknown customers that you can’t? That is how the customers experience it. Remedy: Consider changes in procedure from the view of the customer before finalizing them. Do they serve the customer or just the company?
- Has your company purchased or merged with another company? Employees aren’t the only people who will struggle with the changes. The customers will struggle if they go from being known long time valued customers to being just IDs in a database. Remedy: Intelligent databases that retain valued information and CSRs who use that information well.
- Have you recently had turnover in personnel or new hires? The customers can experience a loss when new hires treat them as unknown. Remedy: Brief and train anyone who interacts with customers — receptionists, CSRs, sales, marketing, account reps — on current customers’ buying patterns and preferences. If that isn’t possible due to the size of the business, have the new hires let the customers know they are new hires. It explains the lack of knowledge and prevents misunderstandings.
If customers tell you they are displeased about being treated as a number or an unknown, avoid replying that things have changed. Expressions like, time marches on, it’s the age of technology, one bad apple spoils the bunch, reinforce that they no longer matter as individuals.
It makes matters worse and can irreparably damage the relationships. Instead, use their dissatisfaction as an opportunity to learn even more about the customers and re-secure the bond.
This post is not a plea to stop change; it is a reminder to handle change well to avoid un-knowing your customers.
What else will prevent “un-knowing” the customers? I welcome your thought-filled discussion in the comments field below.
©2010 Kate Nasser, Somerville, NJ. For permission to re-post or republish, please email email@example.com.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, continues to guide and teach diverse businesses and industries how to deliver great customer service for outstanding experiences and long term business success.