I want to voice my opinion. Are you listening?

I want to voice my opinion

All of us, at some point, have had a great customer experience or a really bad one. A recent bad experience was with my bank. There was a complete breakdown of communication on which documents were required to effect a transaction. The follow up explanation was that the additional documents requested, were part of their new procedures. Well, why did they not explain what was needed from the outset? This frustrated me no end.

However I also had a delightful experience a couple of months ago when I visited my local bakery to buy savoury cheese pies made without egg. The shop assistant was eager to help; she identified the list of ingredients for each type and then showed me the ones without egg in the cabinet… she was helpful, pleasant and knowledgeable!

On both of the above, I would have loved to have had the opportunity to provide feedback directly to the bank/bakery. As a result of my bad experience with the Bank, I will not close my account, but I will certainly not consider any of their other services. Moreover, and importantly, I have been vocal about my bad experience with all my friends. Had there been a mechanism to capture my frustration in an easy and unobtrusive manner ….

• Bank personnel would have had the opportunity to call me immediately and demonstrate that they actually care!

• I would probably still talk about this experience with my friends but the story would have had a positive twist

• Interaction with an expert customer service team would have diffused my frustration and reestablished my trust for future collaboration

• Tangible information on similar comments from other customers, would be available and would provide an opportunity to reassess potential weaknesses in the Bank’s communication with customers on new procedures or changes

• Tangible information on general negative customer comments specifically from the branch I interacted with, would be available and could prompt plans for branch staff training, or support annual review discussions.

There are learnings and opportunities for improvement from any customer comment; good or bad. If I break down the positive experience I had with my local Bakery, it highlights the need to have easily available the list of ingredients on each of their unpackaged products (sweet or savoury). Moreover, the need for staff training to be able to support with such aspects, given that there is an increasing requirement ( for health, allergies, diets etc) to know what goes into our food.

Other than providing a voice and opening an ongoing dialogue with customers, Customer Experience programs should include data analytics which prioritizes investment on areas with the highest impact on loyalty, resulting in the health of any business.

We are all customers and therefore likely to have had bad and good experiences with products or services. Retailers/ Service Providers/ Brand owners, may know who their customers are, what they buy and how much they spend, but do they really know what we think about their store or service? Do they know what could trigger us walking away?

Taking control of customer conversations, will inspire customer respect and loyalty. Just Listen!

Soulla Kellas
Chief Marketing Officer