Archive for the ‘Service Industry’ 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!


Virgin Airlines…what a great surprise!

 I have just returned from a trip to Los Angeles and when I looked to book the ticket a few days out from the trip the cheapest option was to fly Virgin Airlines. I had recently been told that Virgin was a good airline and have always had a great impression about Virgin and their amazing guest experiences.

 Well, I can tell you now that I like what they have to offer. It certainly has some of the same components that other airlines have, but I would have to say that Virgin has done a great job at finding ways to differentiate themselves from the completion. Virgin does not fly any routes within Canada and does not have large schedules to the US out of Canada, but if you do ever get to try them out, here are a few things that you are likely to see…or hear.

 They had tunes playing by the check in counter…love it!

  • Staff was friendly and helpful at all points except for one guy on my return home
  • Funky lights on in the plane when you board – simple, but different
  • Love the animated cartoon humour that explains the normal pre flight rules and regs versus the more traditional serious approach on other airlines
  • Was shocked to see the pilot come out of the cockpit to do the welcome message  to the passengers leaving Toronto… and when he said “we sincerely thank you for flying with us” I really thought he meant it!
  • At any time during the flight you can order food from the screen in front of you…anything, anytime.
  • Wireless internet service on the flight! It was free because of the holidays, but I would pay just about anything for free wireless on a flight!

 As I mentioned above, the schedule in Canada is a little challenging to fly Virgin, but if you enjoy some of the services above as part of your flight, I am sure you will enjoy the Virgin Airlines experience.


My very good friend Nicole Gallucci surprised me with this Blog over the weekend and I thought it was a great example of what a company known for delivering price as their POD can do when they add a great experience. Very compelling to most for sure.

 Be sure to check out the Blog of Nicole and her team at Boom Marketing when you have a chance. Always a great read and very entertaining !

 So let me start by saying, I hate Walmart…or I used to.
The notion of one-stop shopping does not work for me.  Walking through a 20,000+ foot store that is filled to the rafters with everything from sporting goods and stereos to meat and produce is overwhelming but intuitively also makes me wonder the quality/appropriateness of everything. And then there are the huge line-ups that take so long because carts are overflowing with lawnmowers, hockey equipment, shaving crème, clothes and tonight’s dinner!
But yesterday I had a different experience. Not sure if it was a Walmart experience or a Collingwood experience. Or maybe it was a combination of both.

My children and I have rented a condo at Blue Mountain for ski season. After a day of cleaning and unpacking we had accumulated a list of items that we required that rightly or wrongly the one-stop shop Walmart could satisfy so begrudgingly my daughter and I ventured over.  Two carts later– filled with items that ranged from underwear (yup, my son forgot to pack it?!?!?!) to pillows, shampoo, frozen waffles, electrical tape and Christmas videos (you gotta love the National Lampoon Christmas movies) we checked everything off our list and laughed at the extras we had accumulated along the way.

 The store was clean and bright, staff who found us in the aisles asked if we needed help (honest!) and then as were heading to the checkout a woman appeared and directed us to a specific cashier, helped us over, informed us that this was one of their regular cashiers who would get our goods properly bagged and out the door efficiently and then closed this cashier’s line so that other customers were not held back by the length of time to process and bag our purchases. Within seconds a new cashier was up and running to manage other customers. As we were checking out our cashier actually packed our bags properly – frozen items together, bathroom supplies all in the same bag,… and kept up ‘a how are you doing’ social banter – are you kidding me. I had to check myself to ensure I was in fact at Walmart. To top it off, as we were midway through the checking out of purchases a young gentleman appeared. His role is to help us put everything back in our carts and get us safely to our car – are you kidding me!!!!!!!! There was no call-out over the PA system for a “carry-out” just this bright, gentle face, bundled in a coat hat and scarf with a Walmart button on his jacket here to help two weary shoppers. Okay so now I am in complete shock. And my 16 year old daughter looks at me and says, “Mom this store is amazing. I love it here.”
Pete has asked me to write blogs several times because I often get caught up in conversation with him and we rant and rave over good and bad customer service.  I had to write about our unbelievable experience at Walmart! It was so different from expectations that not only have I altered my perception of Walmart (I know its not like this in every store but this one deserves recognition) but I have written a blog for someone else’s website versus my own and likely shocked Pete all at the same time!
If you have to go to Walmart, its worth the drive to Collingwood!!!!