When Expectation and Reality Become Worlds Apart.

Curium | 14 Mar 2014 | News | Sustain Change

For 3 months now, 2– 3 times per week on my route to work I stop at the service station on the motorway and buy my coffee from a well-known coffee shop brand.


The brand’s owners have spent millions promising me and other customer’s great service. This is good, because I love great service and I love coffee! Every morning I like a bucketful of coffee to start my day but I have realised that it is not just the coffee that has an impact on my start of day mood; it is all down to the experience!


So having been a regular customer for a good while, I was recently pleasantly surprised when one morning getting to the till the staff member Phil, remembered my name and also what I had to drink. This instantly put a smile on my face and made me feel important to him. I even mentioned it to my sister when she called me 10 minutes later for a catch up.


I thought this might be a one off and just down to that particular member of staff, so was even more impressed when I was greeted in the same way for the rest of the week by different members of staff. This little but impactful experience gave me a positive boost to the start of my day.


However…and there is a however because now I have come to expect this! So this week when I walk up to the counter and have to tell somebody who I am and my order I am disappointed, for over a week now they haven’t had any large cups (I’m thinking … how hard can it be to get cups!) and today they got my name wrong…and the impact on my day…I’m not so positive walking into work today!


In high-performing organisations, from Apple to Virgin, and from Mercedes to Waterstones, the customer experience is absolutely aligned and consistent. And these companies can demonstrate a virtuous circle with the clarity of their customer promises driving the reality of the experience which in turn leads to customer retention, sales, profits and long-term corporate success.


What is key to this is a sustained and effective attempt to change employees’ behaviours and ensure the customer promises are consistently delivered at the front line and expectations are maintained.


But the majority of companies can’t seem to get this vital element of their business right.


“Simply getting it right some or even most of the time is just not enough.”


And because humans are involved, companies must recognise that great service is about more, much more, than procedural delivery; relationship building, empathy and emotional connectivity delivered consistently are all crucial.

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