To ruin the customer experience, it only takes one…
Date: 30/05/2017
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Customer experience

Some time ago I was switching between two cars of a prestigious German brand. I’m a big and loyal fan for more than 20 years now, also due to their great customer experience. So I turned in the old car at the official dealership and drove home in the new one, happy as a child at Christmas…

A few weeks later, I still get billed for the rent of the old car. I’m confident that this is just an innocent mistake. But as I call the company, I’m confronted with an employee insisting that I didn’t turn in my old car. Quite absurd of course, but nevertheless, the employee keeps on insisting that I’m still in possession my old car, despite all the facts and documents proving the opposite. The reality was that the intake process had not been fully respected at the dealership. This resulted in a tiny single check box remaining “open” in the employee’s computer.

You would expect that this little detail could be solved in a second. After all, everything was obviously ok. But no, there was only one solution: turn in the car again, scrupulously following the official process, so the check box could finally be ticked. You can imagine how disappointed I was by this quite kafkaesque customer experience. It took several weeks, calls and mails before the manager of the department realised what was happening and finally arranged things.

This story is rather anecdotic, but it’s a good illustration of how an inadequate employee experience can ruin the customer experience. You must realise that, like this major company, you can spend millions of euros and tons of energy on building a nice customer experience. But at the end of the day, it only takes one single employee to ruin everything.

So, the rule is very simple: if you want to create a sustainable customer experience, make sure that every employee is aware of his or her essential contribution to the customer experience. As we illustrated in a previous article, more employees are getting deeply involved in the customer experience.

Secondly, if you expect your employees to contribute actively to the customer experience, make sure you empower them to do so. In this little anecdote, it would have been easy to blame the employee. But maybe he or she has been told to “never, never deviate from the process”, even if forcing the respect of the process would ruin the customer experience. Which was thoroughly applied in my case ;-).

Again, we can easily make the link between customer experience and employee experience:

  • If you want to create a sustainable delighting customer experience, you must make sure your employees are aware of their essential role in creating and maintaining the customer experience.
  • On top of that, you must make sure they are enabled and empowered to give priority to the customer experience at any time.
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I help organisations with communication, change management and collaboration improvement: employee and customer communication, change management and transition communication, collaboration improvement through team coaching, facilitation and digital platforms.