Experience lies in the eyes of the beholder.
You just had a wonderful encounter with one of your customers, and believe that’s a positive touchpoint experience, but in reality, you never know what you are actually producing…
This is my experience with PwC.
I first met with Shirley, a representative of PwC, in a cocktail party. We didn’t chat much because after all, that was our first touchpoint. Was the first touchpoint experience good? I couldn’t really tell. Neutral maybe, but definitely not positive nor negative. That’s what I thought.
The second encounter took place in the cyberworld: email. I was inviting our clients to join a CEO conference organized by our company via email, and she was on the list. She replied, suggesting that I should forward the invitation to her bosses as she won’t be able to join, which I did within 24 hours. Was the experience good? I couldn’t really tell without seeing her facial expression and body gesture, but judging from the tone of the email, I would say it was neutral to positive.
The third encounter was on the day of the CEO conference. Surprisingly she showed up but not her bosses. That’s the customers, right? You just cannot believe what your clients say sometimes. They don’t usually mean what they say, and they usually don’t say what they mean. I was not feeling well that day, but since it’s a big event, I decided to show up for a while. I met some old friends, and made some new contacts. After all, that’s the purpose of open seminars. Was the experience good? We again did not talk much, so I guess it’s neutral.
The fourth encounter was the follow-up of the events. Everyone on the invitation list will receive a softcopy of the deck presented in the seminar, even if the person did not show up. That’s easy. I didn’t have to deliver the materials in person. Thanks to the Internet, what I needed to do was just to click on the send button. Was the experience good? Neutral mostly.
The final encounter was a quick email requesting for a meeting. This time she didn’t reply. Was the experience good? I couldn’t tell, because I didn’t know her reaction to my request. There was some virtual interaction, but there was no connection. So, I guess it’s neutral.
My boss told me that I needed not serve PwC because Shirley had requested another consultant to work with her.
What’s wrong here? I didn’t even have the chance to connect with her formally. Although there were 5 touchpoints between us in less than 3 months, none of the touchpoint experience was negative.
Then here comes my boss’ version, from Shirley’s perspective.
First touchpoint: the experience was neutral, because we didn’t really connect, and she didn’t really know me.
Second touchpoint: the experience was negative for Shirley because the email I forwarded didn’t have her on the distribution list. She expected me to copy her on that email. This unmet expectation led to frustration.
Third touchpoint: the experience was again negative for her because she thought that I was not present during the seminar. Of course she was not aware of my illness. But then I started to believe that even if she knew she won’t care. She expects professionalism 24×7.
Fourth touchpoint: the experience was negative because she said I had sent 2 emails to her. She expected just one.
Final touchpoint: She did read the email, but she did not understand why I would like to meet with her when she did not have any needs at all. She concluded that I was not capable of even doing my job.
Lesson learned: make little things count.