It’s been a busy few weeks of speaking for me and at 22 weeks pregnant, I’ve had to re-think my on-stage wardrobe a little. OK … a lot. In fact, not one of my usual speaking outfits fit me any more.
So off to Myer I went a few Saturdays ago to explore some new options. I’m averaging 2-3 engagements a week at the moment so I set aside a day to hopefully find a few combinations that I could mix and match and would work for the next few months.
I haven’t shopped for clothes for fashion for a while and this was my first major shop for maternity clothes. So with a mixture of excitement and apprehension that I would find anything that fitted me without looking like a sack, I decided to make a day of it and take my time.
I spent most of the day in Myer, browsing the different sections and analyzing which of my favourite labels had options I could make work with my bump. I found some amazing staff, who were not only helpful, but made it their personal mission to help me achieve my goal of finding 4-5 pieces I could combine for a range of outfits.
One particular staff member, Katie, practically appointed herself my personal shopper. She made the whole experience fun, special and a mini-celebration of my pregnancy.
After a few hours, I skipped out of Myer with 6 new garments. Katie and I were new best friends and the serendipitous icing on the cake was the one-day sale Myer had kindly decided to hold that day, meaning I saved 30% on every purchase. Winning!
The afterglow of my successful day of retail therapy didn’t last long. After the hour drive home, I laid out my purchases on the bed triumphantly to decide which jacket I would match with the skirt I’d purchased to wear to speak at a breakfast two mornings later.
I spotted it immediately and my heart sank. The security tag was still attached to the skirt.
I get that mistakes happen. I get that often things are overlooked and it impacts your ability to deliver a perfectly flawless customer experience.
What I can’t accept is that after returning to Myer to have the tag removed (a two-hour round trip), neither of the two staff members who served me expressed any sympathy or empathy on behalf of Myer. I was annoyed and frustrated and although they fixed the problem efficiently, they did so without any acknowledgement of the frustration and inconvenience.
The contrast to my experience just 48 hours earlier could not have been greater. I’d gone from a VIP to an interruption and it made me realise that for any brand, big or small, consistency is king when it comes to the customer experience.
The danger of the disconnect, when one aspect of your customer service is five star, yet other aspects are two star, can be more damaging to your brand than performing at four stars consistently.
So how do you reduce the danger of the disconnect? How do you ensure that every touch point your customers have with your brand is a five star experience?
It starts with your organisational culture and how customers are considered at every touch point.
I visited a Perth hair salon recently, where 30% of the salon’s interior is dedicated to a ‘VIP client wall of fame’ for clients that have been visiting the salon for 5 years or more. The photos of the clients are professionally shot (at the salon owner’s cost) and proudly displayed for everyone to see.
This strategy not only reinforces the loyalty of those clients, it sends a strong message to new customers that this is a business that has long-term loyalty as a result of clients being appreciated and celebrated. It also serves as a daily reminder to the staff that the customers are the stars of the business.
When you make your customers such a visible part of your customer service strategy, it reduces the danger of the disconnect and mitigates the risk of your staff taking your customers for granted.
Three Steps to Ensure your Customers are the Stars of your Show
- Make every customer touch point — even something functional such as a return or exchange — a memorable experience for your customer. Aim for consistency.
- Consider how you’re acknowledging, saving (or giving back) your customers’ time. It’s possibly the greatest gift you can give and today’s consumer places a higher value on their time than ever before.
- Celebrate your loyal customers. Recognise and reward their loyalty and empower your staff to do the same at every opportunity.