If experience doesn’t meet expectation YOU lose

I’m concerned that I’ve morphed into Victor Meldrew and I don’t believe it!
Over the last 2 months my normally happy experience in some of my local businesses was not so happy – my experience did not match my expectation. Expectations that had been formed over previous “contacts” and I believe it was down to people not keeping their brand promises.

Emotion still drives our buying habits and we like to feel good when we hand over our money.

This mild Victor Meldrew rant is about recognising that if you have the wrong people in the wrong jobs, you will damage your business – believe it!

Here are some of the not so good, bad and rather ugly experiences I had recently that all involved young people who I believe have either not been trained or have forgotten their training; have not received any ongoing support or received insufficient support; or were recruited for the wrong job or put in the wrong job.

As the old adage says “we are only as good as our people” and that applies to people of all ages.

#1. Award Winning Restaurant – after a couple of mouthfuls of the wonderfully presented starter I looked like a 2 year old who had applied their Mother’s lipstick and quickly tried to wipe it off with the back of their hand before being discovered, much to the initial amusement, then concern of our group.
“Waitress are there any nuts in this starter?”
“Why do you ask?”
“er look at me” – quick exit to the kitchen returning 3 minutes later to say
“I’ve spoken to the Chef and he says the oil he used was very hot and it was probably just too hot for you” – I don’t believe it! 

What can we learn from this?
Make sure your people are encouraged to ask questions of others in your organisation and not just accept the first answer they get if it sounds ridiculous or they don’t understand it. Ensure your customers get all the relevant purchase information they require and do not treat them like Clowns even if they look like one. I have since learnt that they use nut oil which is now flagged on the menu.

#2. International German Car Brand – outside the showroom at 7.25am I and two other brand owners were waiting to drop off our keys and disappear whilst our cars were serviced. Moments later the service team walked on to the showroom floor indicating the start of the day, one of whom took the long slow walk towards us, attempting no eye contact or verbal acknowledgement. Even when they arrived at the door they just activated it, turned on their heels and walked back to the service desk with the 3 of us following 5 steps behind in silence. Once seated behind their desk they said “Good Morning Mr Donaldson how nice to see you again” – I don’t believe it!

What can we learn from this?
Treat your customers like people not appointments or machines that get switched on when you are ready to start. A simple “Good morning come on in” at the door would have been sufficient to engage us, especially at that time in the morning.

#3. Multiple Retail Optician – I have been a customer at this store for over 20 years and really value their service and expertise, so this experience really hurt. Long multi-visit story cut short, I broke the arm off my glasses and had to hold them together with a relatively discreet tape, as I took them in to be repaired whilst I waited – surely it wasn’t a big deal. They returned from the onsite lab with one inch wide brown parcel tape on the arm which came away from the lens when I put them back on. The “You cannot be serious” quip was lost on the young staff member who had probably never even heard of John McEnroe. My “you really expected parcel tape to hold a delicate arm to a lens” was met with “our technicians do not carry out repairs, if you want them repaired it will take 7 to 10 days and cost £130, what do you want us to do?” – I don’t believe it!
I left to shop the other opticians in the town, only to return a few days later wearing some very old glasses found at the bottom of a draw and handed over my money and broken glasses. A week later I returned to collect my repaired glasses and was presented with them inside a branded pouch. After a few days of wearing them they didn’t seem quite right, on closer inspection the newly fitted arm was shorter than the original arm – I don’t believe it!

What can we learn from this?
Well aside from the obvious be more careful with your glasses. Treat your customers with respect at all times even if they may be a little agitated and always confirm that the customer is happy with their purchase before they leave.

#4. Independent Shoe Shop – I wanted a particular style of shoe that they didn’t carry in stock but could order for me from their supplier. Unfortunately they arrived marked, to which the young person’s response was “it will wipe off with a little polish when you get home”. “I’m sure it will but just to be sure will you do it for me now”, they tried and failed, much to their embarrassment. Then I got the natural leather blemish line – what they didn’t know, is that I had worn this brand of shoe before and had been searching for this particular style for some time, so probably knew more about them than they did. But they did know that I’d wanted to break them in before a particular occasion, so I was not best amused when they said they could send them back and get another pair but there was no guarantee they would be any different – now I’m being squeezed. Then they offered me a discount equivalent to 0.78% of the purchase price – I don’t believe it! 

What can we learn from this?
Train your people to interact with your customers, to engage with them, to make them feel good about their purchase and NOT to automatically default to the sales manual – apparently we can get intuitive robots for that.

And Finally … if you are going to take six minutes to make two cappuccinos whilst talking to a colleague at least remember to add the coffee!

What can we learn from all of this?

If experience doesn’t meet expectation YOU will lose customers and their custom. Recruit your young people on attitude and behaviour, then equip them with the knowledge and skills required to provide the experience your customers expect because as we all know – The experience is in the detail.

Since 2013 I have been helping ambitious SMEs with their Strategic and Leadership challenges.

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Posted in Brand Expectations, Brand Values, Customer Experience, Engagement, Retail Service, Sales Training
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