In this difficult year I find so much has been amplified – both good and bad. So many of us have really appreciated things that have been taken for granted for so long. On this mornings’ Brainfood #weeklynibble it was joyous to hear so many sharing such simple pleasures as the sound of bird song that we have previously not heard or noticed.
This tuning in has made us more sensitive than ever to the world around us.
This amplification creates its own challenge. We need to be aware, more than ever, of what we are saying because everything we do will be amplified. This is a massive opportunity as well as a great risk.
Let me give you just a couple of simple examples just this week to show you how this can have potential negative impacts.
Yesterday I was in a small local food store. This shop has a Post Office counter and as you can imagine at this time of the year there was a big queue of people waiting to post parcels. I was in buying some bread and I really wanted to buy some stamps so at the counter where I was paying for my bread I asked if they sold stamps and the lady said “no” you need to go to the post office counter.
What I found remarkable about this is that despite the challenges and difficulty that many retail stores have experienced the experience of the customer was still not in the forefront of their mind. There is simply no reason why stamps could not be available at each checkout – especially as the post office counter trades reduced hours to the trading hours of the shop (so there will always be times when there could be a customer wanting stamps).
You may be reading this and thinking I am just a grumpy old man having a gripe about having to queue for stamps! That is fair enough – but for me this is an example of a business that is not thinking through the eyes of the customer and has not trained their teams to be customer centric.
In times of difficult trading that was a sale that could so easily have bene made that will be lost to them (I got my stamps elsewhere).
Another example – I booked an afternoon tea next week for a festive afternoon out. We all know how hard hospitality has been hit so I think it is important to try to support if we can and we want to have some time out of the house. The place I chose was advertising Afternoon Tea with mulled wine – sounds amazing! I am in.
When I came to book there was no mention of mulled wine on the menu – not a problem, I had to email to enquire anyway and book. I asked if they were doing mulled wine with the afternoon tea, and I got a reply back saying they had booked a table, but they were not offering mulled wine with the afternoon tea, it comes with a choice of tea / coffee.
Now on the surface this is fine – they have been factual about what is available. Let’s leave aside the fact that there is literature out on their interne that is saying that you can have mulled wine with afternoon tea. Even if this is not part of the package would it not have bene better to answer my request with a message saying included is Tea / coffee, yet they have a full selection of festive drinks available for additional purchase including mulled wine, champagne etc.
For me it was a missed opportunity to promote an upsell – I wouldn’t have cared if it was slightly extra! I am looking for an experience not just the food / drink.
The key thing about both these examples is the fact that the business in question simply was not looking at the experience they create through the eyes of their customer. They were not asking – if I was the customer what would delight me?
What about you in your business? Whether you are externally facing or a support function serving internal clients, how often are you checking in and looking at the service you offer through the eyes of your clients?
Because right now everything we do is being amplified.
On Saturday we nipped to a local restaurant for a meal and the service we got there was great. It was not an expensive place and the service was pretty functional, yet it was done in a way that made us leave with a smile on our face having had a great experience. The team in the restaurant really cared that we were there eating in their restaurant and they gave us a great experience – they were smiling and happy and responded to our needs with genuine enthusiasm that made us feel like we wanted to go back. We will. The food was great, yet the experience was even better.
In this world we are living in it was amplified.
So next time you are thinking of applying a process or dealing with a request just think – what am I amplifying right now? Is it what you would want others to tune in to?