American Schmaltz or European Laissez-Faire?

A man walks into a shop. He lifts a bacon-and-egg roll, a banana milkshake, and a Finger of Fudge choc bar. He then walks up to the counter to pay. Nothing remarkable so far. Except… this is Northern Ireland. Here, regular customer service is a tale told by weary travellers. As for exceeding customer expectations, that concept is as mythical and woolly as the mammoth.

The man waits. And waits. And waits. The till attendant sees him but is more concerned with finishing a conversation about last Friday ‘s pub-crawl. This riveting dialogue presumably with another ’employee ‘ is of first importance. The customer is secondary; an interference, an impertinence, a fly on the Continue reading “American Schmaltz or European Laissez-Faire?”

Customer Experience Counts (Now, More Than Ever!)

It’s not often that airports lead the way in showcasing a commitment to excellence in customer service. I mean, come on, we’ve all been there – it’s as if any sign of a personality has been surgically removed. You have to remortgage your house to buy a sandwich, and then realign your taste buds in order to enjoy eating it.

It seems that a certain English airport is bucking the trend. East Midlands Airport recorded its busiest year on record in 2008, despite the tough economic climate (Airport has ‘busiest year ever’). This is against a backdrop of a weak pound, an economic downturn, and a growing distaste of air travel among the political elite (except when it comes to themselves). So did they achieve this feat? Continue reading “Customer Experience Counts (Now, More Than Ever!)”

Spreken zie Customer?

A group of nine year olds in a primary school not far away from this very screen were speaking customer this Wednesday past. They were taking part in Young Enterprise, which I hope to volunteer for very soon. What does the programme offer? Well, it gives kids the chance to talk to real live ‘entrepreneurs’ and discuss what is involved when preparing to supply a product or service to customers. I suppose that means I’m one. They go through discussion, questions and exercises on, among other things, the good old 5 Ps of Marketing.

What I want to know, is:

Are You Speaking Customer?

Do you know who your customers are? Where do they live and work and how much disposable income/budget do they have for spending on your product? What type of experience does your customer have, from initial telephone call, to finished deal? Do you keep in touch? Are you aware of all the things about your business that annoy (and are you trying to minimise/eliminate those), and all the things that please?

Are Your Staff Muppets? Yes, quite probably. Continue reading “Spreken zie Customer?”

I Am Not a Number

iamnotanumber.jpg

Today competition for customers is fierce and customer power is on the increase. But what are customers to you? Information to be managed? Or people to be engaged?

There are two answers. The old one is called Customer Relationship Management (CRM). CRM is a process by which companies capture, store and analyze information relating to all parties in any business transaction – vendor, partner, and internal customer.

The second is called Customer Experience Management (CEM). It is the future. Continue reading “I Am Not a Number”