About three or four years ago I bought an “ultrasonic” dust bin from Brabantia. It was one of these bins that open when you run your hand over :-). It was a whim. Even more so because Brabantia is not exactly a brand known for its low price. Well, a few months ago the opening mechanism broke down and, winning over my laziness, I decided find a solution.
I searched the Internet for a contact channel with the company and found an email (I had already lost manuals, instructions, receipts …). I shared with them my problem, and I did not have much hope about anybody answering. Well, two days later, a girl answered me (Silvia E., I do not forget) and she told me that in a few days I would receive a new lid at no cost. She was actually requesting my address. She left me completely astonished because I expected much more reluctancy on their side :-). Quite the opposite she put it as the normal reaction to my request. I was left without a fight, but with a weird sense of “silly” pride :-)>.
It was an extraordinary feeling with a gigantic gap between my expectations and the final reality that determined the tipycal experience the Americans call Wow !. One of those moments of truth in which a brand has the chance to leave a permanent mark and win something more than a mere battle. The cost involved was not huge (less than 25 euros), but it was not the core of the situation for me and, apparently, not for Brabantia either.
It is one of the most common issues in Customer Management today. Everyone talks about building an exceptional, wonderful, unsurpassed customer experience … I think that´s WRONG! That’s impossible!. Well, impossible “is nothing”, but let’s say it probably is not worthy for the company in many occasions (and in the end we must not forget that customer management is part of a company business model, and must coexist within its ecosystem of needs and resources). Let’s not be more “naive” than necessary.
I think I’m getting into a risky place with this, but let’s try to explain myself. My point is that in many cases, being exceptional in everything is probably too expensive for the Company and can not / should be sustainable. I believe that a similar value can be achieved selecting the two or three moments of truth in the client’s life (based on inbound customer interactions or provoked by us proactively) in which we want to earn the A++, leaving the rest of the experience in a more than respectable B+.
The problem is that many times we want to do everything exceptionally. We try to cover too much, and we end up not having enough resources. The end is usually a wannabe that leads to a deficient overall customer experience. The alternative is to do the basics well, and provide two or three touches of “Wow” to the experience that leave a remarkable global perception in the clients. What should those touches be? Well, each one has to determine them according to the positioning and the strategy of the service. What can be very relevant for an internet shirt sales company, such as the management of returns, for example, maybe is not that important for a travel agency, in which the Wow could be more in the information provided (about the destination for example). Each one must decide what he wants to highlight and what his clients will recognize as most differential and impressive.
From there, we must communicate it. We must explicitly tell our clients that we are magnificent in those two / three issues in which we decided to excel. We have to get to build in your mind the association of our service to the concept of excellence. Because everything is a matter of perception. From then on our customers will be more demanding, yes, but there will be no problem because we will respond with our strong points, and yet we will have managed to give value to the effort and resources in front of the best and only judge: the client.
In short, we have to pursue a Wow! Experience, but we should be able to sustain it and, as resources use to be scarce sometimes ;-), it should normally be built with many B+ and two or three A++. That should be enough in most industries to stand out over the rest of our competitors, many of whom will still be trying to make everything perfect.
Come on, let´s start to think the two formidable impacts we want to build in our customer’s experience …!