Don’t be the “B” Word to your Customers

Boring-otherwise known as the “B” word in my household (partially because it was a good substitute as my kiddo hasn’t fully learned all the bad words yet). Being Boring in customer experience comes down to the actual experience not being worth the money for one reason or another. When does the experience become worth the money?  Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon, for those who may be living under a rock, put it so clearly, “The number one rule has to be: Don’t be boring”. If  your experience yields joy, excitement, value then the scale tips in worth.

I had an astounding customer experience recently and the purity of it is amusing as an example of how to achieve un-boring status. During a long flight, my child and I stopped over in Denver just in time to see fluffy white snow settling on the ground. To my kiddo (a warm climate Californian), it was exciting to see but would have been much more fun to play in. As the airline watched her push up against the glass wishfully watching the snow, the airline crew created a WOW moment. The representative went outside and got a cup full of snow, delivered it to us to play while we waited for our flight. We had the world’s smallest snowball fight all during a time that could have lagged on. Think differently. Bring kids snowballs. to not be boring in your CX:

Here are two ways to not be boring in your CX:

Be Tactical – but stay Grassroots

Tactics, I deem as a more thoughtful approach to your brand. Making a consorted effort to be different through branding, process, and approach. Every aspect of the customer interaction must be consistent with the approach. Customers have many avenues to research and know your company before they invest time and money. Understand how consistency plays an integral part in the comfort level of your customer. Create moments that stay with your customer. Like Geoffrey the Giraffe did with Toys R Us for so many years, making us all feel like playful kids when we hear the familiar jingle I don’t want to grow up…I’m a Toys R Us kid. Several moments have been created through history on how companies have tactfully created excitement through the marketing, product and overall personality of the company. PS. I’m sorry I left you to sing the Toys R Us song the rest of your day.

Grassroots approach on the other hand is providing your team with enough flexibility to be creative and create the moments that enhance your brand. The moments that make customers’ heads twirl in delight that something was different. Having a clear direction, yet a culture that yields ownership in employees’ contribution can be the ingredients to success.

Experience Makers Are Fairies in Disguise

In the example above, the airline connected with my child in a positive youthful way. That emotionally created a connection with me. I can vouch that a room full of grouchy travelers at midnight had time stand still for a moment when the airline crouched down with her snow delivery. The Good Fairy magically created a fanciful and memorable experience. The company created this environment with training and associate empowerment. The associate decided: to not stay behind the desk, to not stay on script, to not be boring.

A few gates away, the booming voice of an angry traveler with his embarrassed travelling companion marched the gate agents ready with his list of demands. I overheard the airline agents first statement, that there is a recognized problem, they are fully prepared to assist and remedy as best possible. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there, trying to get to our destinations and weather, mechanical or other mucks up the best laid plans. As the service provider, you may not always appease the customer, but standing tall to make someone’s day is a worthy focus. Giving the employee partner the leverage to make it happen within reasonable limits, cuts the otherwise lengthy conversation into a problem solved. “B” words can be prevented with a bit of creativity and situational engagement.

Lest we forget that not all fairies are good fairies. Those pesky bad fairies regularly creep up and create a negative customer experience. Unengaged associates can immediately create a boring experience when failing to engage. The associate that creates an experience through inability to problem solve. Have you ever heard, “I can’t leave my cash to help”, “I can’t look the product up, we are too busy”, “Sorry, we aren’t allowed to give customers the restroom key”, “You will have to wait in line” these familiar phrases? Creating boring experiences are easy. Company philosophy and training can mitigate these conversations from turning into customers seeing you as a boring company to do business with.

CX may really be as simple as remembering to give a child a snowball.

Erin Elliott
About the author: 

Erin’s career spans over 20 years in the automotive aftermarket industry, both in the United States and Canada, being recognized with several awards throughout her career, including “Representative of the Year”, “Vendor of the Year”, Polaris “Salesperson of the Year” and to be selected as part of an exclusive group to participate in a Fortune 500 leadership talent program in 2018.

Prior to joining Allstate, Erin spent many years within the Michelin organization managing strategic corporate accounts and led a total sales team retraining and rejuvenation effort for Michelin’s sister company, TCI Tire Centers, as part of TCI’s new go-to-market strategy.

Erin is a member of the National Fleet Management Association (NAFA), Chamber of Commerce, Allstate Women’s Information Network (AWIN), Women In Technology Association (WITA) and, for many years, the California Trucking Association (CTA).  Follow her on Twitter.