Customer experience: what can we learn from everyday interactions?
Achieving high standards of customer service and experience is not a dark art. Sam explains how a journey across town clearly demonstrated the basics of CX.
The world seems obsessed by two things at the moment: digital transformation and customer experience (CX). Industries have been built up around technology, thought leadership and consultancy. There have been many declarations from business leaders that customers are their top priority and that by 2020, they will adopt a ‘digital first’ approach. It appears that there has been a lot of talk around this topic, however a lack of ground action - but recently I met someone who has nailed it.
A few days ago, before taking my planned journey with a well known ride-hailing company, I checked out my driver online to see how he scored. I was instantly surprised at his rating: an average of 4.96 over 11,000 rides. That is phenomenal consistency in delivering high service. I immediately wanted to know how he did it and began to inundate him with questions…
Engagement based on human needs
The first thing he told me was that he loved his job. “No two rides are the same!” he said. He loved meeting new people and that this job was fun. The next thing he told me is that the most important thing he does is engage with people based on their needs. He’s subconsciously collected a lot of data over the past six years and uses this knowledge to understand his passengers. He knew all the tricks: if a passenger sits directly next to him, this usually means they’re up for a chat. If a passenger sits behind him then this means they aren’t up for talking. And if a passenger sits diagonally behind, this means that they probably want to chat but would also like their own space.
Understand your customers’ personas
He had also built up personas. He typically knows the difference between how a business person prefers to be engaged with, compared to, say, a first year university student. He understands their needs, but always extends an initial greeting to test the water just in case someone is an exception.
Use what you already know to add value
But what really set him apart is his knowledge. My driver had a fantastic knowledge of the local area – rarely needing GPS to navigate his way through the busy Newcastle streets and has built up a knowledge base of all the shortcuts and hot spots.
Once he establishes his customers’ needs and has engaged in initial conversation, he can then offer them additional value, providing they’re interested. He can recommend the latest restaurants and bars in the area, the best places for a night out, plus he is always asking his customers for their own recommendations so he can add to his bank of knowledge using their experiences.
And that’s it. He doesn’t need gimmicks, special offers, or loyalty cards. He simply uses data to build up customer personas and this is how he understands their needs. Once he’s done this, he can tailor his engagement to add personalised value while simultaneously delivering their basic needs. At the core of all of this is the very latest technology – his company’s platform has seamlessly allowed the service transaction to happen, while freeing up his time to add human value. And that is digitally-enabled CX.
Of course, engaging and servicing a large customer base isn’t quite as simplistic as this and creating simplicity itself is a very difficult thing to do. But reaching consistently high standards of service across all customer interactions is definitely achievable if we follow his lead.
First published by Orange Bus, part of Capita