Unusual extra’s creating even better customer experiences
Over recent months I’ve had a need to travel in and out of St. Pancras station in London.
There are a lot of things I like about the station, not least being the great shopping, the ambience and the friendly staff manning both the station and the shops within the station itself. But there’s one thing on my list you’d never, perhaps, expect.
Certainly some Finance directors or similar, could easily dismiss it as being without value: It’s the upright pianos that the station has placed in the station concourse, unlocked, for the ivory-tickling pleasure of any traveller’s with pianistic inclinations.
After a long day in the office, it’s a great stress reliever, and people around seem to enjoy it as well.
Although there’s no specific return on investment of having these piano’s in the station, it certainly adds value to the customer experience, which is why this isn’t really an article about pianos or about St. Pancras Station. It’s an article about the danger of being too quick to remove or even not consider at all, elements of the customer experience that your customers may be interested in or already attached to.
It’s important to change things around to keep customers interested. Relentlessly reviewing your offerings is a key part of successfully engaging customers in the long term. But service-focused companies can shoot themselves in the foot by deleting crucial value from their service offerings, in the name of efficiency. When they realize what they’ve lost, it’s too late.
In the same way, aspects of your service that seem expendable to you, and thus ‘‘wasteful’’ to retain, may have come to have emotional value for some of your customers. To make matters worse, even interviews with your most articulate customers may fail to register accurately the depth of their attachment to, say, being greeted by the smell of fresh coffee in your reception area in the mornings—because the strength of long-term emotional attachments tends to be underestimated, until it’s too late.
A more general problem is that people usually aren’t paying close attention to their positive experiences, and therefore don’t know what specific aspects of their experience felt especially good to them. When you ask people to think back on an experience, they try to come up with ‘‘a theory of why I liked/disliked it’’—which is what you asked them to do, after all.
So keep an open mind when it comes to adding extras to enhance your customer experience, even when there’s no tangible return on your investment.
New Chapter Learning are a UK Training Consultancy, specialising in Customer Service and creating learning that sticks