As with the majority of Sydney workers, I start my day with a coffee. Most days, my cup and I appear in the line of my favourite shop. Here are a few lessons from one experience I’ve recently had:

#1 – Know what your customer wants, and let them know you know (Personalisation).

As I continued to grab my morning caffeine from the same place, I began to feel valued as a customer. The baristas know what I want, and they’ll deliver on it. Knowing your customers is vital to business. There are a hundred vendors who can supply the same thing as you can, but they don’t have the existing relationship your customers have with you. Knowing what they want not only makes it less effort for the customer to order but also leaves them with a sense of personalisation and positive perception. Both ease and happiness are cornerstones of good CX.

#2 – Delivering good customer experience raises expectation.

One day, things took a turn for the worse. As I came to the counter a newer employee was there to greet me.

“What will you be having today?”.

Stop right there. Don’t you know who I am? I’m here every day! My regular cap is why you exist.

“Regular Cap, thanks,” I say, as polite as possible.

“And what is your name sorry?”

“Gil” I respond…

“Great, thanks Kiel”.

Through a simple mistake, my perception of this business relationship completely changed. Now that the expectation of a particular personalized experience was set, not living up to that expectation was going to damage the experience. The same thing that was bringing me to this shop was going to be the one thing that gets me to leave. Ensure that when you set an expectation in CX, you are able to scale and continue to deliver on that expectation.

#3 – Negative emotion can lead to change in overall perception – Moment of truth

Shocked, I step aside and reconsider my loyalty to this cafe. If these guys don’t know who I am, why should I bother coming here? Arms crossed, I seem to notice the longer wait time in this place, the crowded and messy table top. And while we’re mentioning it, there’s not enough space to avoid people walking by. Why did I choose to come here? This might not be the spot for me…

Customers are human and not meeting expectations on one front can expose other small issues, ultimately their perception of the experience is what counts. One bad experience can be a moment of truth and can alter brand perception, creating a stigma around all touch-points with your business.

#4 – Getting feedback, Owning mistakes, closing the loop and communicating with customers is vital.

As I was frowning through my feelings of disappointment, I hear “Cap for Gil?”. The barista had identified the mistake and corrected instantly. Smiling, the barista motions towards the cup and says “Nice name today” and laughs. I realise he’s understood what’s happened and made an acknowledging joke about it. Hey… this guy gets me. What a nice guy. Reacting to customer feedback and auctioning to recover the experience can save you a customer, and many others.

Owning a mistake and understanding the immediate fix needed is crucial will keep loyalty and maybe even drive advocacy. It demonstrates the value of the customer and the relationship with the brand. There wasn’t a long-winded justification, or a policy and process with fixing the mistake. There wasn’t an endless amount of phone calls, forms to fill out and complaint lines to fill. Those who could fix the problem had the permission to fix it and did so promptly, customer centricity at its best.

So with cap in hand, I walked to work feeling fine about my local café. Hey – mistakes happen, human error is real and they weren’t shy about owning and fixing mistakes. I’m a reasonable guy, and my loyalty to their business was saved through a timely and appropriate response. Cheers, to the importance of Customer Experience!

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