Your People Are Your Customer Experience

885-1We went to Milton Keynes today (school holidays – where else would you want to go?) and there were two examples of what I’d call, using marketing jargon, “A great customer experience” for the children. Listening to them talk about it afterwards, it wasn’t just something to do with the actual places we went to, and what we did. Most of what they raved about was the people who worked at these places and how friendly they were. So their experiences were far more memorable for the companies’ employees, than their products.

The first was a place called Bounce, a trampoline extravaganza, and the second was the Lego Store. Now both places are great – well, for the kids at least. The first has a room full of trampolines, trampolines on the wall, basketball trampolines, dodge ball – with trampolines – and so on. Obviously I didn’t go on, but the children had a wild time. When I asked them about it afterwards, they did of course say what they did and what they played on. But very quickly they started talking about the people who worked there. They knew their names, and were relating how they pulled funny faces, interacted really well with everyone, obviously were enjoying themselves too and so on. It made what was, a 1 hour distraction, in to something really funny for them to take away.

And then there is the Lego store. Of course you know what you’re getting here – the best product ever put on this Earth, and every version of that product in the same place. It’s only the mega-prices stopping me from buying everything supermarket-sweep style. But again, once we’d left, there were two things the children mentioned unprompted. Firstly, the guy who worked there, who went round the back and felt all the “Minifigure collection” packets to find the two specific characters that they wanted (he had a technique which he explained). And secondly, the friendly lady at the till who chatted to one of them about the minifigures he’d made up himself. Both had gone beyond the call of duty, and the first in particular was great. I’m not sure he’s supposed to do this (Lego go out of their way to make sure the collection packets are indistinguishable), but what great customer service – and again what a great “Experience” of Lego that has nothing to do with the actual product.

I thought of this, because when looking at your own customer experiences, for your company, it’s easy to focus on the easy things to fix. Things like the branding, whether there are relevant sharing buttons, if the wording on the website is upbeat and friendly. But the harder things – such as whether your support and sales people go out of their way to help; whether your event booth people are still going strong even after four days of standing; whether your interviewers for job openings do a fantastic job making applicants feel at ease – all these things are much harder to fix. The issue is, these are the things that people remember – the things that people “take away” as their experiences of your company. Of course it also extends to things like Twitter – who at your company reacts to a customer complaint on Twitter – is he/she your most friendly and smart person who knows how to turn something like that around?

As I say, I think these are things that really have an impact on customers – and they take training, great recruitment, strong monitoring and a great company culture to make sure these works. So well done to both Bounce and Lego – you made an okay day in to a great day for the children, and we promise to be back soon!

Read More