A pound of cure in a bad customer experience (Pt. 2)

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In a pervious post I looked at what an Ounce of Prevention might look like in preventing a bad customer experience. (You can read it here).

Now lets talk about what to do when a bad customer experience happens.

  1. Do Not Take It Personally:
    I know a few small business owners who take a customer responding badly to their product or service after a failure really personally. When someone takes personally a bad review or a customer expressing their bad experience it can interrupt their logical thought process in trying to make amends.
    It is vital to remain emotionally distant from the situation so that you can respond in the proper way. Responding from an emotional position can end up escalating the situations and it will end up being more damaging to the brand. This also involves giving the customer the benefit of the doubt and not assuming they are just out to try and damage your business.
  2. Listen:
    Listen to what the customer is saying when they have a complaint to share. This is an opportunity to 1. Show empathy and 2. make a customer into a stark raving fan!
    Think about it! You have a customer who cares enough about their experience to tell you about how to make it better. There are those who are just out to try and get something for free but we should use this as a chance to become better.
  3. Finally customer may be entitled to some renumeration. If someone’s order was messed up, your product failed, or your service fell well below expectations you may need to reimburse the customer in someway. This is one step that can really make the client feel valued and could prevent you from losing a customer to getting at least one more chance to prove yourself to them.

If they comment on social media and the comment is legitimate, do not delete their post! Respond with kindness and an offer to rectify the situation. People will notice the response and generally reward you for it.


If you take this fail and do your best to turn it into a win a customer might end up having a great experience and you know what happens when a customer has a great experience? They tell people!


Everyday we have a chance to win and make stark raving fans. Make it count with every customer!


A Lesson from a sidewalk

This week I had an appointment on my alma mater’s campus. It was nice to walk around a place that was so meaningful to my development as a person. While walking across campus I noticed a corner where students walked from sidewalk to sidewalk without taking the path that was originally desired by the planners. This brought to mind two lessons we should take into mind when planning something for customers, attendees, users, etc:


1.  Plan for customers. This design was an addition to the campus. The way it is designed is almost as if the designers failed to take into account the current structures in place. They also failed to anticipate that humans, not just college students, usually take the path of least resistance. Of course students wouldn’t walk the extra 18ft to merge with the current sidewalk! Take time to study what your customers might do, try to get into their shoes. In the tech world they build customer personas to try and learn this behavior.
2.  Plan to change. There is no way that you will be able to anticipate all the way your users will (mis)use your product. Humans are too unpredictable for that. But be prepared to make changes to better fit the user. This path has been trod for at least 5 years now. Instead of a new sidewalk being poured and fixing the problem an eye sore has developed in the heart of campus. Observe how customers use your product and make changes accordingly to make the experience great!



Improving Efficiency & Not Angering Customers

a smart glass

Frequently when companies improve their efficiency they end up angering customers because they hurt the customer experience. Today’s blog comes from an experience I had this weekend with a small punch cup at a church function that showed me how a company improved efficiency and didn’t ruin my customer experience.

A big business lesson comes from this small cup:

a smart glass

The beautiful part about this cup is that I did not initially notice the change. I simply picked up the cup and filled it with lemonade, like I had done many times at church events. I only noticed this change after I finished the lemonade and was staring at the cup, wishing there was more lemonade!

Can you see the barely visible line around the halfway point of the cup? That line divides the construction of the cup: a strong upper portion  by which 99%* on customers pick up and hold the cup and a thinner bottom half to conserve plastic. The bottom portion is noticeably thinner but I most likely would not have noticed if I hadn’t lost focus on what was happening!

The company may have saved 1-5%* of the plastic from each cup but when you make millions of these cups every year that is a huge savings! The engineer whose idea this was deserves a raise!

This is a brilliant execution of an idea that has lead to things like extremely thin plastic bags at the grocery store that irritate everyone!

So the question is: how can you improve efficiency without compromising the customer experience?


*I made these estimates up.