Archive for the ‘Relationship’ 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?


I received this email from a good friend of mine speaking about his Air Miles account. I thought it was an story worth sharing as many of us today like to get points or rewards for our spending, but apparently things are so well in that world they are not really interested in reaching out to connect with thier conmsumer. Yes, the electronic world will work for many, but in this example we obviously have someone who would appreciated someone picking up the phone and asking a couple simple questions….

Hey Pete, I thought since I enjoy reading your blogs I would share something that pissed me off as poor customer service experience that may interest you.  Read the note below I received from Air Miles.  They want to cancel my AM card because I haven’t used it in 24 months….when I used to be a regular user.  I LOST MY CARD…..and as you can appreciate didn’t carve out the time to replace it so activity on the card stopped.  Good Idea AM…..he used to use it regularly, suddenly stopped using it:  Don’t ask why, just cancel it. 

  Dear xxxxxx,

An important notice about your AIR MILES® account.

According to our records, there has been no activity on your AIR MILES

account for more than 24 months. Please note that you need to reactivate

your account by December 31, 2010, or it will be closed.

It’s now easier than ever to enjoy the benefits of the AIR MILES Reward 

Program. To keep your account active, simply complete at least 1 of 

the 4 actions listed below before December 31:

  1. Earn an AIR MILES reward mile at participating Sponsors.
  2. Redeem for a reward.
  3. Donate reward miles to charity.
  4. New! Transfer reward miles for 15¢ per reward mile.

For more information including terms and conditions of the AIR MILES

Reward Program, visit or call 1-888-AIR-MILES (1-888-247-6453).

Thank you,
AIR MILES Reward Program

Note: This is the email address provided on this account. If you think you

have received this email in error, please contact Customer Care.

Here is the problem I have:

  1. I like what the program offers and supported it by going to their vendors and still do because of the habits that card made me form.
  2. These vendors paid their $0.29 per mile or whatever it is and now AM is just going to pocket my 5000 miles, if I don’t activate the card.
  3. This email makes me want to go to non air miles vendors and makes me want to leave the program in general.

 I just thought they could have looked at my activity which was 5-10 transactions a month and decided that I must have lost my card.  Why else would normal patterned activity stop?  How would the vendors feel about this messaging given that they paid for all the miles in my account and AM is presumably going to pocket these $ and do nothing to rejuvenate my participation in the program.

 On a side note I believe that there is now federal regulation around gift cards and not allowing them to expire because a consumer paid money and deserves to get the service.  Often they are given as gifts so it protects the gift giver and the person who receives the gift.  How would this be any different? These vendors gave me a gift and AM is telling me they may not fulfill it even though the vendor paid.

Thanks for sharing SD!


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.