A happy customer. Flickr image by fczuardi
Let me start with a disclaimer – that’s not me above. :)
But today’s article is a real life example of a formula for great customer experience. Not sure if this formula has been documented and validated by any marketing professor. If not, I sure would like to claim it.
Anyway the formula goes like this…
Great Customer Service = Great Customer Satisfaction = Great Customer Experience
Ok, doesn’t look much like a fancy formula and I’m sure you’re thinking everybody knows that.
But have you wondered why everybody can’t give a great customer experience?
How many times have you gone to a shop and come out hopping mad because the sales person insulted you or thought you were living under a rock?
Anyway I digress.
Yesterday, I went to an Apple reseller.
I went looking for a screen protector for my iPad, which I’ve had since May last year.
I refused to get a screen protector when I first bought it because I felt that the protector will interfere with my touch screen experience.
Boy was I wrong when I found out that my stylus left rubber marks and my finger left finger prints. So I decided to take the plunge and went to the reseller looking for a good protector.
They had 2 types and both had the same price. I asked him what was the difference and he said one was anti-glare and the other had a matt finish.
I was irritated by this answer because for me it meant the same thing and it said so on the respective packages. Next I asked him where each were made and he said he didn’t know. My irritation went up by 2 notches.
Since I was desperate for a screen protector, I selected one. Guess which one?
When all things are equal, price determines the choice, right. Only problem was in this instance the price of both were the same. I took the brand that offered a free microfibre cloth to clean the iPad screen.
The lesson of my experience was that if you offer something of value to your customer, you will trump the competitor who matches your price.
Now, if the one I bought was $1 or even $2 more, would I have bought it? Absolutely. Why?
Because I would need to clean the surface before installing the protector. And the best cloth to use is a microfibre cloth that will capture all the dust particles and remove smudges effectively compared to a cotton cloth.
For me this was a great customer experience because the brand I bought gave me a great service although the sales person didn’t.
As I was paying for the stuff, the sale person told me to bring in my iPad if it had bubbles underneath the protector, after I installed it (my impression of their service went up 1 notch).
Although I’m 50, I’m quite IT savvy and was confident it wouldn’t happen with me. So I told him it looked easy and I wouldn’t have a problem.
Then he said some people had the problem and reminded me to bring my tablet in, if I wanted to. I was pleased I had a backup, just in case.
As he was totaling up the bill, we started chatting about the iPad and he said the iPad 4 was already launched.
This was a shock for me as I didn’t read about it anywhere. He then showed me the iPad 4 and the iPad 2.
I asked what happened to the iPad 3 and he said it was discontinued because of a problem with the battery taking a long time to recharge and I said I noticed that only recently.
I asked if Apple was going to replace the battery for the iPad 3 owners and he said no and I was upset (my irritation meter went up 3 notches) as I felt cheated.
Then this guy tells me that the easiest way to solve this problem was to make sure I recharged the battery when it reaches 5%. He said if it reaches zero, it will take a day to recharge. Immediately, my satisfaction meter kicked in and I left a happy man.
The take away from this is that a customer will always go through peaks and troughs during a buying experience and the most important moment is the end.
And this has been backed by Robert Cialdini in his seminal work, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials)
Second lesson is that these peaks and troughs are emotions that a customer goes through and therefore every buying experience is an emotional decision.
Coincidently, after I bought the stuf I stumbled on this article - The Science Behind Why Every Buy Is an Emotional Buy.
My friend, Maal, who runs a retail business, refers to these as Moments of Truth.
The moments when you either piss off your customers or mesmerize them. All those moments in my experience above where I said, I was irritated or elated are examples of these moments of truths.
And yet another lesson is what I read in another article and experienced it yesterday too. That article advises to...
...listen to them.