The Total Customer Experience

This article is a jointly written by Myself and Tobey Deys. The article is in follow up to “I Can’t Stand I Can’t” by me and “Do You Give Good Customer” by @Tobeydeys.

Customer Service is not a vague concept that can be thrown through the door of a department and managed well. Leaving Customer Service in the hands of a department is a strategy that can sound a death knoll. Poor customer service CAN single-handedly shatter great ideas and raze growth.

Let’s consider a few questions around the Customer Service Experience:

How often has an entire experience been soured by a single bad interaction with an individual?

Have you ever decided to ‘cease and desist’ doing business with an organization due to one distressing experience?

Do you share your bad experiences with people – both those close to you and random strangers?

Do you rail or mutter on Twitter, Facebook or your Blog about a really bad customer experience?

It’s a pretty safe bet that you’ve had a bad customer service experience and vented. Probably a sure thing that a company disappointed you and you told someone about it.

Let’s consider a scenario…

Michelin 2-star restaurant. The meal is sublime. The maitre’d is courteous and authentic. The sommelier is spot on. The atmosphere is soothing and romantic. (really sets the mood!) But …

The waiter is dismissive, inattentive, and clumsy.

We‘ve all had this experience (although perhaps only the rock stars among us have had it in a Michelin starred diner). All of the elements verged on perfection yet one component was fatally flawed. The question – would you return? You may say that the food was phenomenal but what remains in contention is that rotten waiter. You may answer “Sure the food and everything was amazing but there are so many places, with great food, that don’t treat me so badly.” The entire experience is summed up and recorded based on the lowest denominator.

This is one simple example of the whole being less than the sum of the parts.

What’s the moral of this story?

Customer service is not a department and cannot be satisfactorily performed by a few designated people within an organization. Customer Service needs to be redefined as Total Customer Experience. This translates to creating a customer service philosophy that includes every single person within an organization, from reception to C-level.

Hiring managers need to recognize this necessity. Each person hired bears your company brand and is a potential liability if you don’t ensure they take Total Customer Service and Satisfaction seriously.

Customer Service is the epicenter of the organization. It impacts the entire customer outlook on your product or service. Auditing the level of customer service company-wide is a critical exercise that cannot be ignored. Your product might be sublime, your receptionist courteous and authentic, and fulfillment spot on but if one other element of the Total Customer Experience is inferior, those customers may not come back.


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6 Responses to The Total Customer Experience

  1. Kenny Rose says:

    Great article Daniel and Tobey. Creating a culture of exceptional service is very difficult to achieve. That is why the hiring decision and consistent investment in training and development of employees is critical.

    Once you build the reputation for excellence, quality and exceptional service customers share their experience at every opportunity.

    As an Entrepreneur or C-Level Executive you cannot afford to let staff become complacent because it is the incremental impact of these errors in attitude or judgment that have unseen impact and do the most damage.

    This often only shows up in the numbers months down the line.

    Ensuring a Total Customer Experience in particular in a service business is critical to success and indeed long term survival.

    Great Job. Hat tip to you both.

    • Kenny,
      First of all, I am honored to have your readership. You always add to any community in which you participate.
      I am so passionate about great customer service! I’m glad you share that philosophy.

  2. I completely agree with your post and I love the fine dining example. We’ve all experienced moments just like or similar to that and it drove the point home.

    I would add, with your permission, that not only should hiring managers recognize the necessity when building the teams but also create and nurture an environment where the total customer service approach is part of the company DNA. The approach is only as good as the internal example is created. I know it sounds cheesy but everyone is a customer whether it’s internal or external. I’m betting that this is an implied assumption in your post but I think it’s worth calling out.


    Parissa Behnia

    • Parissa,

      You bring up a great point! I couldn’t agree more that it is important that everyone who touches the customer is given the “Customer Experience”

      As organizational leaders, your employees are in many ways your customer. If they are satisfied and challenged in their careers, that will translate to better customer outcomes every time.

      I’m so glad to have your readership!


  3. Another outstanding post. My key takeaway is the call for consistency. Great service can’t be compartmentalized – it must be everywhere, or it’s not all that great. Well said.

  4. Thanks Chris – Consistency is a key. I always like to say…. “A great customer experience each and every time!”

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