When did you last receive a great customer experience ? How often does this happen?

I’ve had a number of experiences over recent months which have led me to ask the question … Am I a customer or an opportunity?  In, fact I feel like an opportunity more often than I feel like a customer, never mind a valued one.

There have been a handful of occasions recently when I’ve had a great customer experience:

When my partner and I visited a restaurant in Birmingham where the restaurant manager greeted us with “Thank you for coming” … The rest of the evening was a fabulous experience.  This was a place where every single member of staff knew why they were there and showed genuine interest in giving us the very best experience.

When checking in for our flight in Rome, the check-in attendant actually treated us like customers rather than luggage handlers. His attitude to his job was ‘stand out’, eye contact, engagement and clarity of communication.

A jazz club in London was another superb experience where the waiter was engaged in delivering the best possible experience for us rather than just our meal and drinks in a very pressurised situation.

However, 99 times out of 100 my custom doesn’t feel valued … Why is this?  Answer – too many staff operate as though they’re there to deliver a process rather than an experience.

A recent visit to the US reminded me of what consistent good customer service looks like … The only problem is, it feels fake because it’s largely financially driven and this becomes obvious when the speed with which staff disengage once you ask for the bill as this signals that their opportunity to ‘earn’ their tip has now passed. Note, I referred above to what good customer service looks like … It doesn’t always feel great!

So … How do we ensure customer service is consistently great? The answer lies largely in what I call the ‘happiness factor’. If staff are happy they are much more receptive to the needs of your customers and are much more able to offer a positive experience. To ensure your customers receive a consistent positive experience, you have to put the effort into ensuring staff share the same values, and are bought into your business goals . If so, there’s a strong chance they are in the right place and will be happy in their work.

Here’s a tip to help you get the right people into your business in the first place:

The key purpose of any interview with a prospective employee is to assess ‘fit’ with your business, not technical ability. The key question is ‘What personal value do you bring to our business”. If you don’t feel positive then you don’t have the right person for the job – any job in your business.