5 Questions You Need to Be Asking About Your Customer Experience

So, this morning I made Rosemary infused olive oil. It’s a very simple process. You put 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh Rosemary into 2 cups of warmed olive oil and then let it sit in a cool dark place for a week. When the week is up, you strain the olive oil to ensure you have no particles of Rosemary left in the oil. After I made the Rosemary infused olive oil, I thought, “How will I get the Rosemary out of this bottle?” And that thought inspired this blog post! This blog post is about “How do we eliminate “bottleneck steps?” and 4 other great questions to help you improve your customer experience. (I suppose I’ll just have to strain my oil through cheesecloth, remove the Rosemary and then pour my Rosemary oil back into this pretty bottle.)

Enjoy my Rosemary olive oil inspired post. 🙂

Here are 5 questions that will get you thinking critically about your current customer experience and the answers will inspire you to fiercely focus on continuous customer experience improvement.

1. What are our bottleneck steps and how to do we get rid of them?

Rosemary infused olive oil

A bottleneck step is a step that slows down or impedes a part of the customer’s process. When I headed up Consumer Affairs at the corporate office for an international car rental company, a bottleneck for us was having to disconnect with a customer to call a franchisee to get the franchisee’s “side of the story” for simple problems. A simple problem could take literally days to resolve with this system. We removed the bottleneck by implementing a policy that said issues that could be resolved for $50 or less would be handled by the Representative and charged back to corporate and not to the franchisee. This allowed us to resolve more than 80% of issues on the first call. Bottlenecks cause delays and result in frustrated customers. Identify your bottlenecks and find ways to eliminate them.

2. Why aren’t we picking our low hanging fruit?

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Last year I wrote a blog post about my ridiculous experience at a tag agency. The agency had a 5-step process for simple vehicle tag renewals. The multi-step process caused long lines and frustrated, if not upset, customers. As I stood in the tag agency for more than 45 minutes, I literally created a service map of how I’d improve their processes for a better customer experience. (See it here.) Interestingly, all the agency needed to do was pick some low hanging fruit.

Low hanging fruit is simply something that can be obtained with very little effort. The tag agency could easily and smartly combine their 5-step process into one step to decrease wait time by at least 60%. Low hanging fruit simply requires that we stand back and observe our customer experience from the customer’s perspective. Then, we immediately go out and pick that low hanging fruit for a much sweeter customer experience.

3. How can we make the service experience easier, smoother, faster, or better?

That was easy

I’m working right now with a client who is trying to create the best possible customer experience for her clients. During a conference call with my client one morning, I thought about the “That Was Easy” campaign from Staples. I told my client that we need to step back and ask ourselves, what do we need to do differently, better, faster, smoother or more refreshingly, so that your customers hang up thinking, “that was easy!” What do you need to do differently, better, faster, smoother or more refreshingly, so that your customers hang up thinking, “that was easy!”?

4. How might we use QR codes to improve the customer experience?

QR Codes for Customer Experience

During a business trip, I saw this sign in a restroom in the Phoenix Airport.  The Phoenix airport is using QR Codes to get customers to let them know if restrooms are in need of service. It’s not uncommon to see a sign in a public restroom that asks customers to let a member of the staff know if restrooms need attention, but how many customers really do that? Not many.

The Phoenix airport makes it easy for customers to give feedback. All a customer would have to do is hold up their phone and scan the QR Code to let the staff know attention is needed.

How might you use QR Codes to make your customer experience easier for customers? Could a QR Code be used to pull up FAQ? Perhaps to let an employee know a customer needs assistance on aisle 33? QR Codes aren’t just for ads or promotions. Think out of the box to find ways you might use QR Codes to surprise and delight your customers.

5. What can we learn about the customer experience from other companies?

Apple store field trip

A few months ago I took a team from one of my client’s branches on a field trip to the Apple store and Barnes and Noble. Before the fieldtrip, I gave the team a list of questions and observation points so that we’d make the most productive use of our time.

At the Apple store, my team observed greeting upon store entrance, analyzed employee interactions and even got to see an Apple employee eloquently handle a not so happy customer. After the fieldtrip, we met in a circle in the mall and discussed our observations and explored ways they can take back some great ideas and adopt and apply them in their organization.

We left Apple and headed across the street to Barnes and Noble for part 2 of our field trip. My team really walked away with a lot of customer service insights from both Apple and Barnes and Noble.

Consider taking a field trip to an organization that is known for delivering an amazing customer experience. The company doesn’t need to be in your industry. I’ve taken clients on field trips to Starbucks, local shops famous for service, and to restaurants.

The bottom line: Sit down with your team and ask these 5 questions. Taking action on even one of these questions can have a dramatic impact on your customer experience.

Related:

What I’d Tell the Tag Agency Owner If He Asked Me for Advice on His Customer Service

If you’re interested, here’s where I got the recipe for my Rosemary infused olive oil.

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I took my client on a field trip to the Apple store today – Customer Experience Design Strategy

Barnes and Noble Field Trip 2

This morning I took a team from one of my client’s branches on a field trip. We’re working to create the best possible customer experience in my client’s organization and I believe one way to achieve this goal is to learn from the best. So, I got everyone out of the office and we went to the Apple store and Barnes and Noble.

Before the fieldtrip, I gave the team a list of questions and observation points so that we’d make the most productive use of our time. At the Apple store, my team observed greeting upon store entrance, analyzed employee interactions and even got to see an Apple employee eloquently handle a not so happy customer. After the fieldtrip, we met in a circle in the mall and discussed our observations and explored ways they can take back some great ideas and adopt and apply them in their organization.

Apple store field trip

We left Apple and headed across the street to Barnes and Noble. The people at Barnes and Noble were so gracious and allowed us to explore, take up a lot of space, meet to discuss our observations and they even let us take photos. My team really walked away with a lot of customer service insights from Barnes and Noble.

Barnes and Noble Field trip

I love what I do! It’s great to make customer experience training and consulting hands-on, relevant and even fun.

Related articles

What a Myra Golden Training is Like

Ways I Engage My Audiences

How to Get Customer Service Reps to Express Empathy

Are you a corporate trainer who is looking for customer service training to deliver to your team?

This may be the most creative web error page I have ever seen!

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Every website will experience server errors from time to time. Flickr.com found a creative way to announce their error with this image. A great and interesting photograph with a message is just perfect for a photo-sharing website. The image is so intriguing and the message so fun, that it’s hard for users to feel frustrated or impatient with the problem.

How might you make your customers’ experience a little more unique by customizing your website error pages? Here’s how we do it at MyraGolden.com.

See also:

Why Not Brand Your 404 Error Page?

6 Things We Can Learn About the Chat Customer Experience from Amazon.com

Yesterday I had to reach out to Amazon.com for customer support for my daughter’s Kindle Fire. I chose Chat for my help, and I’m so glad I did because I received refreshingly excellent service that made me say, “Now that’s Beyond WOW!”

Amazon.com Chat

Click the image to see my chat conversation

6 things  impressed me and made me say “WOW!” 

1. It was a holiday (Memorial Day), and the Chat representatives were working. 

This was super convenient for me as a consumer on my day off. Continue reading “6 Things We Can Learn About the Chat Customer Experience from Amazon.com”

Craft a Customer Experience that Leaves Customers Saying, “That was easy!”

That was easy

This morning I was going through a junk drawer in my kitchen and I came across the “Easy” button from the Staples advertising campaign, “That was easy.” I remember being in Staples nearly 10 years ago and my daughter kept pressing the Easy button at the register. She was quite amused with the simple button, relating it to the commercials she had seen. So I bought the Easy button for her. Not surprisingly, the novelty quickly wore off and the Easy button has probably been stashed in our junk drawer for years.

My first meeting of the day was with a client who is trying to create the best possible customer experience for her clients. As we talked, I thought about the “Easy” button that I had come across a couple hours earlier.  I told my client that we need to step back and ask ourselves, what do we need to do differently, better, faster, smoother or more refreshingly, so that your customers hang up thinking, “that was easy!”

The idea of making the customer experience quick, painless and easy is one that I think most companies can benefit from immediately. Ask yourself (or better yet, get your team together and brainstorm with them), what do we need to do differently or better to have our customers walk away or hang-up thinking, “That was easy.” Brainstorm. Plan. Implement. Blow them away!

I also did a quick video on my iPhone about the “Easy Customer Experience”.

P.S. I decided to transfer my Easy button from my kitchen drawer to my armoire of presentation props. I envision taking the Easy button to a presentation, pressing it, and building a point for finding ways to make the customer experience truly easier. 

I checked-in to my hotel room from the plane – such a great self-service option

One of the things I help my clients do is find innovative and relevant ways to improve the customer experience through self-service options. I always notice when a company delivers a great self-service option that customers find appealing. Last week during a business trip to San Francisco, I experienced a top-notch self-service option that I just have to share with you.

When I checked emails on my iPhone during my layover in Phoenix, I saw an email from Hyatt inviting me to check-in to my room via the web. All I had to do was click  “Web Check-In” and type in a few details. The web check-in page told me that I’d get an email when my room was ready. By the time I touched down in San Francisco, I had an email with my check-in confirmation and room number. Upon arrival, all I had to do was hold my smartphone up to the kiosk and scan my barcode and I was all set to go up to my room….and relax before my big keynote.

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This email was such a welcome message in my inbox. I got my room number, directions to my room and easy barcode scan instructions.

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The Hyatt web check-in was super convenient, quick and easy. For a busy business traveler like me, this convenience was very refreshing and welcome. Not only is this great for customers, but it makes things easier for Hyatt by minimizing lines and manpower at the front desk.

Consider one busy and potentially frustrating part of your customer experience and brainstorm ways you might introduce a relevant self-service option. Self-service options aren’t always the best solutions, but I always encourage my clients to brainstorm and explore. You never know when you’ll hit a goldmine. Think ATMS, airport kiosks, tollbooth passes….