Archive for the ‘Quality people’ Category

What exactly is Customer Experience?

I have had a few people lately ask me what exactly the Customer Experience is. To me it is all the aspects of an interacting with a consumer (product or service) other than the direct interaction itself. In the good old days we all spoke about customer service as being the be all and end all of making consumers or customers happy. Over the last decade as competition rose in every type of business and raised the bars relevant in each category, the experience became the new benchmark.  Here are a few examples…

Hospitality Industry – Today you see more restaurants, bars and hotels worrying about every aspect of your experience from the minute you walk in the front door, to all aspects during your stay and not just having a pint, a great meal or a clean room.

 B2B – In the past it may have been good enough to have the biggest brand or the cheapest product, but now it is about returning your phone calls, showing up on time, customizing your support or being there during challenging times. Building relationships.

 B2C (retail) – Beautiful displays, friendly people in store, try before you buy, better return policies, financing, washroom and baby changing facilities and big clean and clear aisles. All these make your experience more enjoyable.

 As I write the list of items above I am certain that I have missed some of the items that the average consumer would now expect from different business types (everyone’s list is different). It is the above aspects (and the ones I have missed) of any business that have now become the differentiation between one business and another. These are the aspects that help a business show you respect and care in exchnage for your consumer dollars. More so than ever before businesses are working hard to get better at them, because they understand the other option is to eventually go out of business as thier competition continue to improve its own experience.

 Just my two cents. How about you?


Kicking off 2011 – The Power of the Consumer

 Welcome back everyone! I hope that everyone had a great break and enjoyed the benefits of the early sales, the lower prices and free offers that were presented all over the place.

 As we move into 2011 you have more control and power with business than every before. Be sure to demand better service, look for better prices online and when you don’t get good value for your hard earned dollars, begin to look elsewhere for the same or a similar product.

 Happy New Year!


The Keg – Just can’t get enough…

 The Keg gets it. Not sure why, how, when or who created the approach to the business originally, but it works. It works in good times and it works in bad times. It works when you are celebrating with friends, having dinner with the family or just pulling up a chair at the bar and going it alone.

 So what is the “it” and how do they “get it”? Well there is a lot more to it than what I can put into a single Blog, but it really comes down to people and consistency of experience.

 The staff at the Keg are called “Keggers”. If any of you have worked at the Keg you probably still find opportunity to use the handle in conversation. Keggers are a special breed. They love the hospitality business or at least they do when they are on stage at the keg. I don’t think I can ever remember an unhappy staff member at the Keg…any Keg. I have likely been to a Keg in every province of Canada and in the US as well. No bad staff. How can it be? I think it has to do with hiring the right people and then treating them like they are your most important asset, because they are. The company spends boat loads of money on staff engagement parties, trips and activities to ensure that their staff know that they are important and appreciated. In addition, it keeps the staff connected and creates the stories and the culture that legends and great friendships are made of. My good friend Mac still tells me stories of his day as a Kegger 20 years ago and still has a special rapport with other staff he comes across in life.

 The consistency of experience is really about providing the fundamental aspects that are important to every dining experience and occasionally going above and beyond when required. The fundamentals (in addition to great staff) includes a great environment (who doesn’t love the new look of the Keg), quality food, cleanliness and the occasional product feature to inspire a new experience for a repeat customer.

 Take the above two ingredients and add a dose of empowerment to let staff and management address any situations that do not deliver the “Keg Experience” and you have the perfect recipe for success in good times and  bad. 

 Looking forward to my next trip back for another great experience.



Barber Shops – Lots of Great Experiences

 I have spent much of my life in Toronto and have not ventured far from the neighbourhood that I grew up in to live. As I have moved around the area over the years I have found several different small barber shops that do a great job at cutting hair and delivering an experience that matches or surpasses their cost….always a good thing for long term business success.

 When my Dad used to take me to Mr. Jimmy`s at Yonge and Belsize, many years ago, it was about the manly chatter and the magazines that were not intended for someone of my age. Today I am looking for a good haircut (as judged by those around me), a little conversation (not too much as I always have a need to close my eyes in the chair) and a few smiles all around (a great energy).

 So here is a list of a few places where I have enjoyed the experience of getting a hair cut over the years…

 North Toronto – Yonge and Lawrence

 Corallo`s – Yonge and Lawrence

Having lived near Corallo`s for over 10 years, I got to know a few of the guys pretty well and certainly enjoyed the engaging conversation whenever I walked in.  Everyone gets the same treatment.

 Paul`s – Mt. Pleasant and Soudan

Returned to Paul`s recently to realize that I had missed the effort that he puts into his haircuts and enjoyed the overall experience. Parking is the only challenge around Paul`s at times.

 Don Mills – Top Cuts – Longo’s Plaza

Had a couple cuts at this store when I was living in the neighbourhood and the ladies in the store were amazing. The cut was good as well, but the playfulness of the staff was entertaining and I encourage you to try it out.

 Leaside – Pat’s – Millwood and Bayview

It has been a while since I lived in Leaside, but Pat’s was great and the head massage with the circa 1950 head massager post hair cut was hard to beat. Anyone know if they are still using it?

 The thing I love about barbers is that most of them get it. No MBA’s (I harsh assumption), no text books, no decks and no over thinking. They understand that we all need haircuts and most of us do it monthly. Building a great relationship with a customer creates a long term client and this is one industry where you can do a great job of calculating the long term value of that relationship.

 12 months x How many years (depends on age of customer) x value of cut = A ton of dough.

 Don’t forget the lollypop.