One Customer Experience Story That Speaks Volumes
by Kate Nasser |
The experience a customer has with any service provider is integrally connected with who that person is. It’s unique, individual, and shaped by their expectations and sometimes their financial situation.
When service providers forget this and treat customers like objects on a conveyer belt — like the candy in the classic I Love Lucy episode — the experience is disastrous and unfortunately no fun for the customer.
Here’s one customer experience story that speaks volumes about listening and flexibility for super customer experience.
- A middle aged woman living on fixed disability income goes to her doctor’s appointment. She manages her money very carefully and takes a $50 bill to the appointment to pay the $30 co-pay. The appointment is in the late afternoon and she arrives a few minutes early. She has been to this office before and has interacted with the uncaring front desk staff.
- During this visit when she attempts to pay the co-pay, the front desk staff tells her they don’t have any change. The clerk insists on taking the $50 bill and crediting her account $20 for the next visit.
- The patient explains that she cannot afford to give them $20 to hold for next time. She needs it to buy groceries. She doesn’t have a debit card and asks the clerk to either bill her or go get change for the $50 bill.
- As the clerk’s attitude worsened, the patient finally said “What kind of service attitude is this? I have explained my situation, I’m not yelling, and you treat me badly.” The clerk sarcastically quipped, “Thanks for questioning my work ethic.”
This Speaks Volumes About Customer Experience
- Money matters are sensitive spots. If a business accepts cash, then it is obligated to make change within reason. Twenty dollars back from $50, in an office accepting cash co-pays, is a reasonable customer expectation. A business doesn’t get to demand an interest free loan from a customer — by cleverly calling it a customer credit — even if it’s only $20. If you don’t have change, take steps to get some. If you can’t, then billing the customer is another reasonable option.
- Customers expect individualized service. This is completely normal. The fact that companies want to routinize everything to make it easier on themselves, doesn’t change the customers’ expectations. I haven’t met anyone who wants or loves to be treated like an object on a conveyor belt. Have you?
- Delivering individualized service doesn’t have to be costly. Listening and showing empathy are no cost customer service skills. They work their influence through the information they gather and the individualized care they show. The belief that all personalized service is expensive is either a convenient excuse for generic service or an ill-conceived myth.
- Technology can facilitate or threaten customer experience. Many agree that online options, self-service portals, and information access have helped customers in many ways. Yet assuming all customers use the latest technology is a customer experience killer.
Not everyone pays with a debit card, checks in with a mobile device, has a GPS in their car, reviews products and services online prior to calling, or wants to buy an electronic gift card.
- Setting and situation impact customers’ expectations. Patients are customers with high hopes for care because it affects their lives and they are often in pain. The sting of ruthless attitudes, robotic actions, and flippant responses magnifies the fear or pain they already feel. Moreover, when healthcare providers use high demand and costs as a reason for poor interactions with patients, they lose the customers’ trust and respect.
- The right default is critical to superior customer experience. When customers’ expectations don’t fit your predictions, do your teams default to policy enforcement or to using care for a positive resolution?
Your reps can more easily close the gap between your policies and the customers needs through care based negotiation than through issuing orders, sarcastic barbs, or repeating themselves like a broken record.
Discussions, training, and role-playing with your staff on how to close the gap with customers is one of the easiest steps to ensure superior customer experience.
Customers can see leaders’ beliefs through the treatment they receive from staff. Shall customers place their trust, money, health, and happiness in leaders whose beliefs speak volumes through their staffs’ uncaring behavior? Would you?
It is my personal mission and professional life goal to assist you and your teams in delivering the ultimate customer experience — even in the toughest times. Let’s talk soon.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Related Post: Has Technology Removed Our Reason to Care?
©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.