Does your customer experience live up to its promise?
I recently went on holiday with my family and flew with a low cost airline. I obviously had in my head some pre-conceptions about the level of service we would receive from this airline. In my mind low cost = low expectation!
I commented to this effect to my husband on the way to the airport, even going so far as to say ‘what on earth makes people want a career as a flight check in person? Do you think the job attracts miserable people or is that just what happens to you after a while in the role?’. Looking back yes this was a little harsh (my husband pointed out what a misery I was being!) and part of me was probably anticipating problems due to the fact I was travelling with two small children and had tried to pack the entire contents of the house to take with us for a 10 day holiday and was slightly worried about the weight of our luggage and indeed the logistics of getting a walking child, a baby in a buggy and 3 pieces of luggage even into the airport in the first place!
These concerns, coloured by previous experiences with officious, inflexible, ‘jobsworth’ check in staff all contributed towards my negative perception as I approached the dreaded check in desk… and I couldn’t have been more wrong! The young woman who dealt with us at the desk was polite, friendly, helpful and, I would even go so far as to say, warm towards us. She gave us advice on things like whether we could take the children’s drinks through, she showed an interest in our holiday and she spoke directly to the children (let’s face it, that’s always a winner with us mums!). Don’t I feel like an idiot now!
But was it an anomaly? Did we just happen to meet the one and only genuinely nice person at Leeds Bradford Airport? Maybe she was new and just wasn’t all that jaded yet or maybe she was just having a rare good day and was inadvertently being nice against her better judgement?! But no, the person who checks the boarding passes at the gate was also lovely and the cabin crew were equally charming and helpful. Perhaps then I have to face the fact that it is ME who is just a jaded old misery, expecting the worst from people?
The airline, praise where praise is due after all, was Jet2 and I noticed as we boarded the plane that their slogan is “Friendly Low Fares” and doesn’t that just say it all?! The cynic in me is thinking that Jet2’s staff have had some kind of ‘friendly training’ and have been instructed to make more effort with their passengers in a bid to gain competitive advantage over their rivals. Either that or they have a deliberate strategy to recruit more genuinely warm, outgoing, personable staff. Maybe, as my husband kindly remarked, I am just a misery! At the end of the day though, who cares? I was extremely impressed by the service I received, my expectations were exceeded in every way and I’m sure that Jet2’s staff have had a positive reaction from their customers which has to make their job much easier (I do believe that if you are nice to people they are much more likely to return the favour!).
This is a prime example of ‘living’ your corporate message. As a marketing specialist I often create slogans and straplines for clients to communicate what they do and try to encapsulate their approach and personality. This is great as long as the experience the customer receives lives up to the promise offered by the marketing message. A recent study by Satmetrix (http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/view/pressrelease/satmetrix-poor-customer-experiences-trigger-switching-epidemic-420252) showed that over 10 million consumers switched suppliers last year due to products and services that did not live up to their expectations of those suppliers.
The moral of this story then is this, and it’s pretty simple – do what you say! That’s it, nothing complicated, seems pretty easy doesn’t it so why do so many companies fail to do this? Your key messages need to be clear and they need to create an attractive proposition but they also need to be backed up and justified by solid positive customer experience that does exactly what it says on the tin/strapline/advert/mailshot/website etc. Jet2 has certainly got to grips with this concept but you don’t need to be a multi million pound corporate, this basic rule applies to every business and should in theory be simple to implement. Do you in your business?
Join in the debate: When was the last time you dealt with a company that was ‘all mouth and no trousers’ and left you feeling a bit cheated? Alternatively have you had a really great experience that matched your expectation based on their messages or even exceeded them? Please leave your comments here or join in the discussion on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=17491&uid=329414422875).