Customer Experience

We’ve evolved from speaking about “customer satisfaction” to “customer experience” to “customer delight”.

It’s not an “or” question, you can’t delight your customers if you haven’t already satisfied their needs, but according to a Harvard blog one US bank has been trying to substitute coffee and comfortable chairs for efficient transaction service.

The blog points out that the people with the most banking expertise are now greeting visitors, I’m sure that was well justified in the consultant report. I imagine the logic went something like “you’re in this banking crisis, people don’t trust you, they way to turn that around is come out from behind your desks and talk to the customers”. It’s not necessarily bad advice in the conceptual sense – banks and financial institutions are seen as untrustworthy, and research indicates people don’t ask for advice in part because of a perceived distance issue.

The problem is in the execution. Most customers can do everything online, so if they’ve made the time to come into the bank it’s because they have a more complex transaction, or an problem that can’t be solved online. In short they’ve come into the bank for the bank’s expertise.

Customer satisfaction would be around accurate and efficient delivery of the expected service.

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 5.44.15 PMA positive customer experience would be around short waiting times, professionally friendly staff, comfortable surroundings. At this point you can earn trust, you’re doing the right things in the right way.

If all of that is in order you can then, and only then, delight me with a cup of really excellent coffee.

But you can’t skip the satisfaction and the experience and expect a customer to be happy because you’ve made my long wait for service more pleasant.

I can get coffee at a cafe – that’s not what I’m coming to a bank for.

Image Smiling coffee /Toby Bradbury/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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