Friday, August 24, 2018

Who Owns the Customer Journey?

Who plans a customer journey, touchpoints, or customer experience? Is it an organization's President or CEO? Is it an entire customer service department? Or, is this essential competitive advantage defined by a single marketing or technology employee? Whoever is responsible in your business, make sure that all employees - no matter what their role is - understands the importance of satisfied customers.

According to Wikipedia, "In commerce, customer experience (CX) is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction is made up of three parts: the customer journey, the brand touchpoints the customer interacts with, and the environments the customer experiences (including digital environment) during their experience. A good customer experience means that the individual's experience during all points of contact matches the individual's expectations."

Recently, I visited a car dealership in California that sells and services new and used luxury vehicles. While I don't have a brand new vehicle with a six-figure price-tag, I have a 10-year-old luxury vehicle with less than 50,000 miles that, according to Kelley Blue Book, is in excellent condition.

However, I experienced a strange issue with the car. One day, the windshield wipers stopped working. After adding an entire container of windshield wiper fluid and discovering that the wipers still didn't work, I took the car into my dealer. I was told that some engine components would need to be removed in order to access and fix the problem. I made an appointment a month ago and recently took the car in for the scheduled service.

When I dropped the car off at the dealer, I spoke with the check-in technician (who was also my regular service rep). He asked me, "Did you order the parts?" I nearly fainted with surprise. Had I just been hired as the newest mechanic? Or was I the customer? I made the appointment, so the dealer should have expected me and, therefore, should have ordered the required parts to handle my service request. I was the one giving my business to the dealership - and my money! Naturally, the parts had to be ordered after I arrived with my car, so my service would have to wait at least 24 hours to begin.

As a result of this experience, I wonder if the owners of the dealership (the dealership has been in business since 1948!) conduct regular customer experience training. You would think that a business with that amazing longevity would understand the importance of happy customers - but sadly, they do not.

Had I been the check-in technician, I would have said to the customer, “Wow, crazy thing, it looks like we did not order the necessary part or parts. We’ll take care of that immediately. In the meantime, we value your business and your time, so could I interest you in a coupon for lunch in our lobby cafe, or maybe a coupon for coffee and a snack at a nearby Starbucks?”

What does your brand do to show gratitude for customers when errors happen?

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