Consultant X is conducting a long term ethnography project (of sorts) in an upscale food emporium. Read the first installment here). This week, he shares some insights that seriously relate to our work in managing customer experience effectively, and poses a challenge to the experts: what should he say to customers? ~SA
As if I've Got the Time
Counter work, it turns out, involves much more multi-tasking than appears to the customer. In a typical transaction, you are first in public relations as you greet the customer, secondly in operations as you prepare the product, thirdly in sales as you attempt to up-sell or suggest another purchase, fourthly in accounting as you key-punch in the sale -- back to operations to package the product – then back to public relations to bid the customer farewell.
Now in recent developments, the marketing department has shown up and wants in on the action. There are a number of improvement programs out there that attempt to strengthen brand image by influencing the “customer experience” at the point of sale.
If the above point of sale sequence were constant and predictable, you might make a case for inserting a marketing message or striking up a dialogue with the customer at a pre-determined point in the sequence.
But it’s rare that the sequence remains intact. Customers just aren’t that accommodating -- when you are greeting them they are ordering, when you are preparing their order they are wandering around the store, when you are key-punching data into the system, they are ordering something else, (then changing their minds), when you move to checkout, they immediately give you their credit card before knowing the total. Not really with the program, are they?
However exit polls show that some kind of dialogue with customer leads to significantly better impressions of the store and its employees. Now let’s suppose for a moment that you are a shop owner, and one of your competitive advantages is the high quality of your product. And you want to experiment with the concept of leaving a good impression through greater engagement with the customer… How would you do it?
Here's the Reader Challenge
Here’s a challenge; you suggest a line or two for me to say to customers, and when during their visit I should say it.
(Post it in Comments below, and hey -- try not to embarrass me too much!).
I’ll try out your line, and report back to you in future Fridays. Kind of a Robo-Server thing. Although we don’t have exit polls, I will be able to tell you what the immediate reactions were to your lines, and you can estimate the future value from there.
Go ahead, post one now.
Next week we look at the surprising details customers are prepared to reveal about themselves – and what can we do with that information (?)