Colin Shaw defines customer experience as “the sum of all interactions between a customer and your organization. It’s the blend of your organization’s physical performance and the emotions that you create all measured against customer expectations across all points of interaction.” In my previous blog, I shared that anything and everything that touches the customer impacts his/her experience with your organization. Today we discuss how policies, procedures and standards of operation impact the customer experience.
Policies, Procedures and Standards of Operation that are customer focused make it easy for the customer to conduct business with your company. When your policies are geared towards providing a hassle free environment for customers, customers are more inclined to reward you by patronizing your business more and referring your services to others. The goal of any service organization is repeat customers and you’re guaranteed this when your policies, procedures and standards of operation are developed with client satisfaction in mind. Nothing irritates a client more than hearing the words “company policy”.
I’ll give you an example of this. After I changed my vehicle, I also had to change my mechanic. The type of vehicle I currently drive is a totally different brand from the previous one and required mechanics who were experts with the brand. On my very first visit to the mechanic shop I observed that they had policies, procedures and standards of operations that were clearly focused on providing an excellent customer experience. These included:
• Friendly & knowledgeable staff
• Providing drop off and pick up services or conveniently delivering your car once it was ready.
• They proactively managed their customers. To avoid any billing problems, they called for approval to replace any parts that needed replacing. By doing this they ensured customers were aware of the costs and would be expecting the charges once the work was done.
• They provided status updates throughout the day. As a client, you were not left wondering whether or not work had started on your vehicle nor did you have to deal with the anxiety of not knowing how long you would be without transportation.
• Clean customer reception area and clean work areas
• Prior to providing a bill, they reviewed the work they completed with you
• They provided tips on preventative care for your vehicle
• They immediately resolved billing inquires hassle free
Now this is not the first time I’ve had to deal with a mechanic shop and I’d like to demonstrate the difference between this mechanic shop that had policies, procedures and standards of operation that were focused on providing an excellent customer experience and another mechanic shop I used previously. The other mechanic shop:
• Had unfriendly staff members
• Provided drop off services but you had to wait for a certain number of people in order for the bus to leave and then you were dropped off according to your location which could result in an hour on the bus.
• They never provided any status updates. You would end up calling a few times a day to see if your vehicle was ready for collection.
• They did not consult with you prior to changing any parts and you therefore could not manage your expectation of what your bill might be.
• They did not provide drop off services when your car was ready
• They did not review the work completed with you. As a matter of fact, you collected a bill from the reception desk, settled your payment and were handed your car keys.
• Any billing queries were challenged and also had to be escalated to the manager.
Now, mechanic shop number one is slightly more expensive then mechanic shop number two. Regardless of this fact, I will continue patronizing mechanic shop number one. This is simply because they thought about my total experience as a client and were proactive in providing solutions and also provided excellent customer service. My overall experience as a client was an exceptional one; an experience I am willing to pay a few dollars more for.
Steve Jobs said, “You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” What amazing insight! As you consider the policies, procedures and standards of operation for your company, it is important to think about whether they will enhance or frustrate customers.
Duquesa D. Dean is a Certified Trainer, Speaker and a Transformation Coach. She is an Associate Trainer with the International Board of Certified Trainers and has over 20 years experience in the customer service field. She coaches organizations large and small to lift their service levels and offers a unique style of customer service training. To book Duquesa email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.duquesadean.com.