Liliana Petrova finds no amount of champagne can make up for poor service
“Wow Moments” are a Customer Experience hot topic. Customer experience professionals ideate how to build, prioritize, finance, and measure these Wow Moments. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a whole book on the topic: The Power of Moments. No Wow Moment saves you from negative word of mouth if your brand fails to get the customer experience basics right or to deliver the expected brand experience consistently.
A bottle of champagne cannot save your brand
Last week I spent four nights at the Marriott in Berlin, Germany. My husband and I represent a loyal customer with high lifetime value. He has the Marriott Elite Status. We are in our late 30s – plenty of time left to travel. Our recent hotel customer experience confirms that, when basic CX work is missing, a bottle of champagne cannot save your brand.
The hotel employees had zero communication with each other. The maintenance person who unsuccessfully tried to fix the AC the first night failed to tell the front desk he recommended a room change. The next day, after the front desk said the move could “only happen later,” hotel employees arrived to take our things to our “new room.”
When I forgot my flip flops in the original room it took 3 business days, 2 front desk phone calls, 2 in-person front desk conversations, and 2 conversations with room service to get them back. The flip-flops arrived the night before my flight back to New York. Somewhere among these bad customer interactions, we received a bottle of champagne and an apology note from the hotel.
Is poor customer experience the norm?
The sad part is that customer experiences like this are part of our everyday lives. The Mount Sinai Hospital appointments system is literally non-existent. A patient can schedule one appointment for the morning and another for late afternoon, but the nurses cannot optimize the visit and make both appointments in the same half-day. When my girlfriend was re-admitted to the hospital a week after her release, her parents had to answer the EXACT SAME questions they answered the first time. The system did not allow the new nurse to see the original answers.
In a nutshell, the hospital lacks internal communication systems for employees to refer to across touch points. As a result, the poor frontline employees constantly look like fools to frustrated customers.
What is the RoI on good customer experience?
Since the need is dire and the impact is grave, why don’t brands just fix this? There are several reasons.
First, “fixing” this problem means investing a lot of money in technology. And investments need ROI. What is the ROI of improving service? Will you sell more rooms if the flip-flops get back to me faster? How does a customer experience professional prove that claim?
Second, organizations (incorrectly) fail to recognize this extensive work as customer-facing. If you go to any organization (the way they are set today) you will see that the communication systems for employees is considered “back office.” Leaders rarely make the connection that empowering the frontline is the key to improving CX.
Third, this work is not “sexy.” It just isn’t. It is full of Excel spreadsheets and ancient legacy systems that need to be integrated or rebuilt. And the solution must be real-time to empower employees. That brings complexity that drives the price tag even higher.
Wow the customer with consistency
Brands should work on wowing the customer by delivering consistent experiences and getting the basics right. They need to do that before they introduce all the great one-off experiences they can deliver to a few guests.
Customers are wowed much more if their digital key can open their room door in Boston AND Berlin. Or if they can rely on digital checkout in both countries. The bottle of champagne only brings value when the customer’s basic needs have been met.
Don’t deliver champagne in lieu of consistent, positive customer experience.
This post first appeared on Doing CX Right