So, with this large brand number in mind, why do customer experiences have to be so different? Two recent customer experiences stand out because they were so different.
I visited a store that sells boxes – you would immediately recognize the national brand name because it is known as a moving equipment and storage rental company. Once I had selected the boxes I wished to purchase, I saw a sign that read: “$6.99 for one box, but as low as $4.99 with a 10 percent discount.” When I questioned the salesperson as to how many boxes I had to purchase to pay the lower price, she told me that I had to buy 10 boxes. So, I placed 10 boxes on the counter expecting to pay the $4.99 price.
Once I saw my total, I was surprised. The total for the 10 boxes was $69.99 with a single discount of $6.99. When I asked for clarification, the salesperson explained that only one box could get a discount and she did not know how to actually charge $4.99.
Wait a minute! If the signage above the boxes read “$6.99 for one box, but as low as $4.99 with a 10 percent discount,” where was the discount? In addition, how can a cashier complete transactions if he or she cannot implement discounts that are advertised less than ten feet from where they are standing? As you can imagine, I only bought five of the boxes.
Contrast that experience with this one. I was at a national pet store and saw a cat scratching post that was the right height for my two cats. However, the protective wrap around the post was open and might have slightly damaged the post – it would be impossible to tell until I got it home and completely unwrapped it. So, at the check-out counter, I showed the cashier about the wrapping and asked if I could get a discount. She didn't bat an eyelash and immediately offered a 20 percent discount while simultaneously asking, “Will that be good enough?”
These experiences reminded me of Bill Quiseng’s (@BillQuiseng on Twitter) quote:
“Businesses need to understand and educate their employees that there is a difference between taking care of a customer and caring for the customer. For example, taking care of a hotel guest is checking him quickly, giving him a key to a room that is clean and problem-free. Caring for a guest is recognizing that the guest was obviously under the weather and sending up a cup of chicken soup with a note, “Hope you are feeling better soon.” Taking care of a customer is a transaction. Genuinely caring for a customer generates an emotional connection. And emotionally engaged customers are much more loyal than merely satisfied ones.”
These two experiences left me with some important questions:
* Why are some employees empowered to create memorable and positive customer experiences for their brands and others are not?
* What causes leadership teams to train their employees to care about their customers?
* How can brands endure if they don’t create a customer-focused culture?
How would your brand have handled these different customer experiences?