Customer Shoes – Walk in them to better your business.

Have YOU ever bought a product or service from your own company (anonymously) and experienced the highs and lows, YOU give your customers?

Having walked a customer journey in your own company could you hand on heart recommend your company (based on your experience) to a friend without fear of it affecting your friendship?

To walk in your customer shoes, only takes an open mind and a little time, assuming your processes are efficient and effective; you can use a different name, you can even send it back, so it doesn’t have to cost you anything – yet the experience could save you money and make you money by making your business a better business.

Sometimes it’s enough just to share their experience to generate those Ah Ha moments – when all becomes clear in terms of what you should be doing or not doing… charging too little for an exceptional service or charging too much for an appalling quality… where you need to remove the glitches or celebrate the joy.


Better People Experience means Better Business.

Late last year I travelled though Bristol airport for the first time, and what a pleasure it was – inexpensive parking within 200 metres of the terminal, through the automatic scanning barriers to the automated baggage drop, then on to security where we had our first touch-point with airport staff, who were simply keeping the flow, flowing and into the lounge for breakfast. End to end it was the smoothest departure transit I’ve ever experienced and yet I found myself decrying the fact people were being replaced by machines!

Then we came to board our orange plane and it was sheer chaos … so much for express channels and orderly boarding, it was a scrum, with people from all directions descending on the departure gate, boarding the plane from both ends, bringing the aisle traffic to a standstill, and then forcing oversized carry-on bags into the overhead lockers, only for the stewards to insist they be place in the hold. In all it took over half an hour to simply get 100 or so people seated – far longer than the time it took from leaving our car to getting our breakfast. I then found myself decrying how people can get in the way of effective and efficient processes by not following them!

A simple “Good Morning Everyone we are going to board by rows 20 to 30 from the rear steps, all over sized bags will be taken from you on the tarmac and put in the hold” – it’s not rocket science, but apparently beyond the wit of the men and women dressed in orange.


Better Process Experience means Better Business

Earlier this year I ordered several doors from the leading online building supplier – the lack of product specification (how complicated can doors be) prompted a call to their service desk which, 3 calls later resulted in them providing me with the phone numbers of two of their suppliers – so I could get the information I required from them myself!

In total this one stop shop resulted in three separate deliveries, from two separate suppliers, one incomplete quantity and two deliveries that required home access and a signature… Oh and I had to inspect everything within 24 hours or the goods could not be returned?

Now whilst this company Board may be happy with the online stats and bottom line performance of their business; just imagine the benefits of having walked in this customer’s shoes – their corrective actions would not only boost their stats but their OP.


Better Product Experience means Better Business

Recently a family member had a bump in their car which resulted in it being collected by the red car insurance company for £3,000 of repairs at one of their approved repair contractors. In the meantime, the policy provided a replacement car through one of their approved car contractors – for the one week the damaged car would be away.

And so, the three-week saga began, for unbeknown (?) to the red car insurance company their approved contractors were sub-contracting the work out to secondary (unapproved?) suppliers.

A pick-up driver drove over a neighbour’s garden, the car provider reclaimed the replacement car within 3 days because they had sold it and wanted it back, then left a second replacement car that was unfit for purpose. The repaired car was returned with additional damage and incorrectly fitted parts which meant it had to be returned for further repairs. It was finally returned two weeks later than promised with an additional 119 miles on the clock and in the dark – so it couldn’t be inspected (so it wasn’t signed for). At one point we had two replacement cars parked outside for two days, and our diaries had to be changed to accommodate a total of SIX car delivery and pick up dates.

Now before you say – you get what you pay for or you should have gone to a more reputable company – this product was provided by the leading UK car insurer – perhaps one that has become too big and too busy collecting premiums to regularly review the product their brand has been providing and is certainly in need of walking in their customer shoes – more often than I suspect they do.

To walk in your customer shoes, only takes an open mind and a little time, yet the experience could save you money and make you money by making your business a better business.

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

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Posted in Customer Centricity, Customer Experience, Customer Journey, Engagement
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