So I haven’t had a good rant for a while.
Let’s change that, shall we?
I’d like to say today’s story is a fable about creating the perfect customer experience. Sadly, it’s not. Read and learn from it my friends. And don’t make the same mistakes.
The moral of the story follows at the end.
Customer Experience Story Part 1
I was looking for a birthday gift for my husband and decided a season membership to a golf course was the perfect gift. He has a course that he really likes, so I went to their website to get information on the season pass.
I had questions on the difference between the two options, so I filled out their contact form asking for a phone call. This was on a Wednesday.
I decided to call them the next day since I had thought of this brilliant birthday gift idea at the absolute last minute (naturally 😉
The girl who answered the phone was polite. I told her I filled out the contact form on their website to which she responded “Oh you did? Well then someone will get back to you.” (Strike 1).
I told her the reason I completed the form- because I needed clarification between the two pass options on the website. She responded “I don’t even know what it says on the website.” (Strike 2).
I told her the two options and asked what the difference between the two was. She responded “I don’t know anything about our season passes. But our owner will be back tomorrow and he can tell you.” (Strike 3).
When I hung up the phone, I was completely dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe that the person I spoke to, who was EMPLOYED there, couldn’t answer a very fundamental question. It’s not like I asked her the ratio of Bermuda to Bentgrass on the course.
This was a COMMON item- golf courses offer membership options. Period. It costs X and entitles you to Y. If there are two options, then each costs a different X and entitles you to a different Y.
Oh, and the capper? I got an email response to my contact request Saturday. Yep, you read that right. 3 days after I first submitted it. (Strike 4. Oh wait…..Nope, absolutely worthy of a strike 4).
Mind….Blown….. And pretty sure I swallowed a fly or two because my mouth hung open for so long.
Customer Experience Story Part 2
So I decided to call a different course in our area. The lady that answered the phone was amazing. I asked about their membership options and she was able to explain it to me right then. She answered every question I had, including how it would work if my husband occasionally brought our daughter with him.
She told me the hours she would be there and that she would be happy to help me.
I hung up the phone, got in the car and drove to the golf course. When I walked in and said I had just called and asked about the membership, she replied “Yes, I remember the conversation” and proceeded to get the membership pass completed and process the transaction.
The Moral- How to Create a Customer Experience
- Whoever answers the phone needs to be equipped to handle the issue AT THAT MOMENT. Not a few days later when the boss replies to the contact request.
- The people who answer the phone need to know the basics of the business they’re in. Period. They set the standard and the impression.
- Building off that, if they don’t know the basics, your business looks ridiculous and the prospect will go elsewhere. Guaranteed (I did it- why should your customer be any different?)
- Any contact form on your website needs to be monitored and replied to as quickly as possible. If you don’t have a process in place for that, GET ONE! You look, at best, stupid and at worse, apathetic, when you putz around with your response.
- Educate your staff on the basic info on your website. There is no excuse for them not knowing. They don’t have to know backend stuff, but they need to know what pages exist, what content is shared (is there a blog, free reports, etc.?), what forms are available for completion and so on. And if it’s a major communication tool for you, who’s responsible for responding to requests via the website and how to do it.
I don’t care WHAT your business is- selling pencils on the street, operating a gift shop or working in an insurance agency (my primary biz)- your staff needs to know the basics of the operation and be able to answer commonly asked questions. If you really want to blow someone’s mind, give your staff the authority to make decisions in your absence (bonus- it frees up YOUR time).
I sincerely believe that the reason the girl at Course 1 failed so miserably is that she wasn’t properly trained. If people are working FOR you, then they REPRESENT you. Their actions represent your business. If they look stupid, you look stupid. If they are clueless, you are clueless by association.
And in case you’ve forgotten, perception equals reality.
So train your staff well. No shortcuts. No gimmes. DO THE WORK. It will pay dividends in the end. And help create that positive customer experience we all want. Not like the one I received.