How To Ruin A Great Customer Experience


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I took my car in to be serviced the other day.  The dealership has done a fantastic job in designing a great customer experience.

I made my appointment online, it was easy to choose a time that was convenient for me.  The day before they sent me a reminder and introduced me to “Dale,” my service advisor.

I showed up at the appointed time.  Since my car is web-enabled, apparently it had been “talking” to the service department even before I arrived.

Dale met me, greeted me pleasantly, then said, “This is what we need to do to the car today, are there any other problems or things we should look at?”  There were a couple small things I asked them to do, Dale cheerfully handled it, put me in a loaner and I was able to go on with my day.  The whole thing took about 10 minutes.

That afternoon, Dale called me to tell me the car was almost ready, it was being washed and detailed (I hadn’t asked for that).  He said both the normal service and the couple of things I had mentioned were completed.  I picked up the car, actually earlier than they had promised, it took me about 5 minutes at the dealership.

All in all, an absolutely effortless experience.  I was very happy.

Then things started going downhill.  By the time I had gotten back to the office (about 20 minutes), I had an email from the dealership asking about my experience and telling me to contact them if I was dissatisfied in any way.  They also gently reminded me the manufacturer might be contacting me and they would appreciate my giving them the highest rating.

These used to annoy me, I always thought, “I’ll rate it the way I want to, I don’t need to be told.”  Funny, I was intending on giving them a very high rating, but was a little annoyed about being told what my experience was.

Yesterday, I got a call from someone at the dealership.  Fortunately, I let it go into voicemail.  It was someone else from the dealership checking on my experience and informing me I would be getting a survey from the manufacturer, they would appreciate an outstanding evaluation if I was so inclined.

Yesterday, I also got two follow up emails, one from the service manager, one from the owner of the dealership.  You can guess what they said.

Finally, this morning, as I was wondering what I would write about today, I got another email.  Yes, you guessed it.  I’ve got it, I don’t need any more reminders or encouragement.  I don’t need another person to check to make sure I was absolutely delighted.  No, there isn’t anything else the can do–except to stop asking about my customer experience.

I still haven’t heard from the manufacturer.  I know those emails should start any day now.  I hope they have a comment section.

Too many organizations are like that.  I guess marketing automation technology has made it awfully easy to let loose a stream of emails checking on my customer experience.

It seems really ironic that organizations can take a great customer experience and convert it to an awful experience just by asking you about your customer experience.  I wonder who talks to the customer experience experts to tell them about the experiences they create?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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