Being a marketer and in a way being responsible for customer delight, I often tend to think from a marketeer’s perspective, even when I am the customer. Things look really different sitting on the other side while playing the role of a customer.
I consider myself to be a fairly undemanding customer. I understand that small slip ups are bound to happen and I am okay with it, most of the times. Everyone tries hard and sometimes things don’t work as planned, which is also fine.
I am a very diligent customer, I happily pay my dues on time, use automated debits to ensure that my payments are not delayed and I don’t complain pointlessly over trivial service issues. As most customers, generally I do not register a good or an average customer service experience. But, like most of us, I do remember the bad ones as well as the exceptionally delightful moments. In my multiple interactions with various brands and service providers, I have realized where the crux of customer delight lies.
Case 1: In India, I once had some trouble with my broadband connection. I registered a complaint with the service provider, with the expectation that I will be contacted in 3-4 days. But these guys just blew me away with their promptness. The linesman attending to the fault in my broadband line called me four times every 30 minutes, just to ensure that I was getting an uninterrupted broadband connection, even after I had confirmed that the problem was fixed. Small gesture, happy customer!
Case 2: I banked with a multinational bank for close to for 10 years. I was a satisfied customer during my tenure with them. However, when it was time to close my account, they made me run in circles, (possibly a strategy not to lose a customer). There seemed to be no co-ordination between the branch and the call center. I was caught in a vicious triangle of the call center- branch- relationship manager. And I gave up in frustration. After a decade of good customer service with no complaints, the one bad experience I had at the end has stayed with me.
Case 3: There is this small yet comfortable eatery in Mumbai, which has been my favorite for years. The food is not the only thing that takes us there. Smiling waiters and a plate of fries for my little daughter (on the house) while we wait for our food and drinks, makes this restaurant so much more delightful! Again, small gesture, happy customer!
Case 4: Imagine arriving at a hotel after midnight, in a new country , only to realize that your booking does not exist, despite a confirmation. You will snarl, argue, debate and fight for the room that was booked for you, right? Most likely after all the drama you will get the room with the possibility of a free breakfast as well. However, you soon realize that the error was from your end, but the hotel still managed to give you a room and not charge you for the additional dinner or breakfast. Well, this has happened to me and the hotel ensured that they accommodated me. The reason? They said, it doesn’t matter if the error was mine – they should have checked the details before giving me a confirmation, hence the onus was on them. For me, this is outstanding customer service, an experience that will stay with me forever.
Experiences like these reinforce that customer delight is formed by the small gestures, not big promises. They are formed by empowering the frontline people to do small yet memorable things for the customer. As a customer I enjoy these. As a marketeer, I realize these, and at Xpress Money we try and deliver these fulfilling experiences to our customers.
Written by – Ashwin Gedam, Vice President – Global Marketing & Communications, Xpress Money