Customer Experience: Every Move We Make, Every Vow We Break
by Kate Nasser | 9 Comments »
Super customer experience is not a series of learned steps or categorized procedures. It is continuous improvement and delivery of superior interactions between our customers and — our staff, our products, and our services.
Steps, procedures, and processes are merely the ways that large companies organize their work, train their workers, and lower their risk. They are only tools to handle on a large scale what a small enterprise does well without the complex of rules.
Many of the customer experience horror stories are born of procedures gone mad. They erupt from processes that have conquered thought/reason, empathy, and unfortunately guillotined the customer experience.
Management mistakenly puts so much focus on procedures and adherence to them that the employees delivering service focus on procedures instead of the customer.
The customers are aware of this. They experience procedural focus as uncaring, disrespectful, and dehumanizing.
Conversely when we, as caring intelligent life forms first unearth the input to the experience (the customer’s perspective), we can easily deliver a superior customer experience with personalized care using whatever procedure is needed.
What super customer experience truly requires is awareness before action!
The customer is constantly aware of what they want and aware of us when they want it. Are we aware of them and what they want or just aware of our procedures?
Super customer experience comes from us being aware of the customers’ wants, needs, and expectations before we deliver. Interaction is the time to become aware.
Interaction before action. Whether it’s face-to-face, on the phone, on Live Chat, or even the e-commerce site, awareness must precede action.
Have you ever heard customers rave about an experience by saying: “Your employees executed the internal company procedure so well”?
The early interaction with the customers foretells the outcome. Will it be the beginning of a wonderful movie with a happy ending?
Or will it end with the customer feeling thwarted, silenced, and metaphorically beheaded by our internal procedural focus?
Picture the customers singing Every Breath You Take by Sting.
Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you
3 Reminders to Be in Harmony With Customers
- We don’t do things for the customers. We do things with the customers and with their input and consent.
- Interact before we act. Awareness before action.
- Every procedural move we make, every caring vow we break, every procedural claim we stake, they’ll be watching us — and looking for more caring effective alternatives.
I have taught thousands in customer service, customer care, technical support, and contact center teams how to deliver the ultimate customer service while working the procedures behind the scenes. Let’s create a superior customer experience for each and every customer!
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
Super Customer Experience: Customers & Us in Harmony
The Threat to Superior Customer Experience is Company Narcissism
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on customer service & experience, employee engagement, leading change, teamwork. Kate turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.
Hi Kate! Enjoyed your post very much. I received the “guillotine” treatment this morning when an uncaring, irritated sounding CSR had to transfer me and I had the nerve to ask if it was to the ______ department I had requested and she had ignored my request for at the start of the call. How dare I question her procedures? 🙂
My favorite motto: Empathy first, process second!
“… I’ll be watching you.” I think that is part of the lyrics. And, I like watching your blog for interesting and relevant customer experience/service info. Thanks Kate!
Love you, man. You are brilliant and spot on! Thanks for telling it like it is.
Procedures should be place with putting yourself in the shoes of the customers and see who would you act toward such procedure! If you feel frustrated then you’ve got yourself an immediate feedback!
On the other hand, procedures should be marketed to customers just as other products! They should know that such procedures are their for providing better service!
Great article as usual Kate 🙂
“Oh can’t you see, you belong to me”
A brand indeed is owned by the customers, you cannot “not position” yourself.
Wonderful way to connect lyrics to customer experience / customer service theory, thank you Kate!
And thank you Robert. I love the extension you have made with the rest of the lyrics. It is how customers think.
Hope you will visit this blog often and offer your interesting remarks!
Great post Kate – informative and entertaining!
Okay, so here’s the story for now. A couple of days ago, because of a fraud alert on my debit card, I am unable to download a subscription magazine (Harvard Business Review) to my reader. The company (Barnes & Noble) who downloads the magazine sends me a nice notice saying I should give their customer service number a call to change my payment information so that I can download the magazine. I call, and — after going through the hierarchical phone menu for a while — get to the friendly rep who said, “No, I actually can’t change your payment information at all — you have to do that on the website” and “I don’t know why they send that email; it’s incorrect.” So I go to the website and make the change, which is fine, but then I also reply to the initial email saying, “Hey, you know, the information you are sending is wrong — you can’t fix this with a call, you have to go to the website. Maybe you should send a different kind of email with the instructions on how to do that.” To which I receive a boilerplate email in return (this time with a first name attached) saying “Thanks so much for the inquiry. We take your feedback seriously. You are an important customer…Blah, blah, blah…” for a couple of paragraphs. In reply I write back to say, “Gee, maybe you should get rid of the boilerplate and just send me a note saying, ‘Hey Dan, thanks, we’ll look into it.'” To THAT email, I get another email, from a different rep (first name only) saying — again in boiler plate — “We so much appreciate your inquiry. [It’s not an inquiry, of course, it’s a SUGGESTION] Your business is important to us, blah, blah, blah…” for a couple of paragraphs — “Please take this CUSTOMER SURVEY.” So, I click the link and take the 15 question survey on how well the company is performing on customer service, which is a bunch of forced choice generic ratings of how well customer service replied to my needs — and has nothing at all to do with the original suggestion I offered re: don’t send an email with the wrong information.
From my survey responses, thank you very much, I expect to hear exactly nothing.
This is procedure gone mad. Bureaucracy as bad or worse than any government agency. Automation without a human face, in the name of BEING RESPONSIVE. Ah, the irony. They have a perfect system with a perfect response from CS which is — no response at all, just more black hole feedback loops to my tiny suggestion that they send the right email.
My dear Kate, if you happen to work with this company, would you mind passing along this experience as the apotheosis of absurdity?