The Customer Experience – exists even at your local carwash

March 8, 2007 by

Maybe my eyes are too wide open.  Maybe I’m seeking out instances where companies over-promise and under-deliver. 

Am I?  You tell me. 

With all the snow that we have had recently in the Northeast,  I had washed my car several times within a short period of time…and it would inevitably snow the very next day after each wash.  So when I pulled up on day 10 for wash #3, everything looked pretty familiar, especially as I had become a regular at this particular car wash over a number of years.  With my coupon for an “external wash only” in hand, I was informed by the greeter that there was new sheriff (oops, owner) in town and that he was no longer accepting this type of coupon. 

I looked down at the coupon.  It hadn’t expired. The name of the carwash was still the same.  I was at the right carwash, on the right day.  So what gives, I asked.  Read the rest of this entry »


Look for What’s Right Instead of What’s Wrong

March 1, 2007 by

Sometimes work with a client resonates with personal experience.  That has been true of my past several months working with VIA Rail Canada, feeling that we – the consultant and the client – are on a journey together to explore how the positive approach to “what is possible?” can transform relationships.

Last fall VIA approached us with a request for us to “demonstrate our training model for coaching” and I responded “I do not have an answer when I do not know the question.” In other words, I needed to know why they felt they needed training in coaching skills.  What was the organizational issue that training was supposed to solve? 

Asking questions is powerful. After listening carefully to what their needs were, I suggested that the approach to addressing their issues might be built around “appreciative inquiry,” an organizational development philosophy first introduced in the 1990s by David Cooperrider and others. That suggestion struck a chord and from it a consulting relationship has developed in which we are working with them to identify and celebrate what is extraordinary about their organization and its commitment to customer service.

Net Promoter – What’s in a Metric?

March 1, 2007 by

Net Promoter Score (or NPS) is a concept that has seized hold of the “customer loyalty” industry because of its simplicity and the logical inference of a positive score vs. a negative score.

It’s easy to calculate — are more people recommending your product or service (“promoting”) as opposed to ignoring it/denigrating it (“detractors”). If the former exceeds the latter…then it only makes sense that it would have a positive impact on your company, right? Simple, intuitive and to the point…which is why Fred Reicheld and the other developers of NPS are rightfully basking in the spotlight.

While NPS is a revealing metric, there is a danger in hailing any one measure as the “ultimate question” in unlocking the mysteries of customer loyalty and financial growth. And when it comes down to it, I don’t believe that any of the NPS advocates are steadfastly insisting that this is the only information of value when assessing the “customer-centricity” and growth potential of an operation. Read the rest of this entry »

Zero Defects…or Else

February 23, 2007 by

The well-chronicled debacle at JetBlue Airlines following the recent Valentine’s Day Storm, which cost the airline some $30 million in overtime, passenger refunds, and future travel vouchers, has sent shivers through every executive and brand manager who think they have their Customer Experience figured out. CEO David Neeleman who has spent the past seven years building a strong corporate culture centered on customer loyalty and becoming (along with Southwest) the recognized customer-friendly leader in the airline industry, now knows that all it takes is one operational breakdown to shatter that image. Read the rest of this entry »

Take Your Internal Brand to the Bank

January 26, 2007 by

It seems everyone is seeking ways to make the customer experience more personal, intimate and emotional. When even B2B marketers are trying to create “love” for their widgets, you know you are truly in the throes of the “Experience Economy.” If you’re a brand-builder looking to forge similar bonds with your customers in 2007, do yourself a favor – make a quick study of the companies and brands you personally like and dislike…and think about the “secret sauce” that makes them hum. Read the rest of this entry »

Customer Experience Litmus Test

January 23, 2007 by

Are you looking for a good diagnostic tool to let you know if your customer experience is up to par? Well, you can hire a consulting firm (such as LRA!) with some expertise in the area to provide you with an in-depth analysis of your “current state” customer experience…or you can complete this quickie internal diagnostic. It’s one question. Read the rest of this entry »

For a positive Customer Experience, uncertainty is the enemy

December 21, 2006 by

What is the worst feeling in the world for a customer following a service interaction?


For the customer, not getting exactly what they want from the interaction stinks…but it’s not the end of the world. As the Stones taught us years ago, “you can’t always get what you want.” A far worse outcome? Ending an interaction with a palpable feeling of uncertainty. These are the last thoughts that you want running through a customer’s head after a service interaction: Read the rest of this entry »