Surprises Await When You Pretend To Be Your Own Customer


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…how else will you REALLY know what’s going on?

Stop complaining about your customers. “They’re too demanding; always have something negative to say and they look for discounts”.  Well, have you ever tried to be your own customer?

pretend to be your own customer

According to an American Express 2011 Survey, 3 in 5 Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.  In other words:

Customer loyalty goes out the window when the service & experience is poor.
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What does your business do to measure the customer experience and satisfaction?

Sure, there are many companies that can assist you with their “time tested” product and strategies that measure customer engagement.  They will recommend countless ways to overcome any negative impact.  But there is a quicker, cheaper and in my opinion much better way to measure the customer experience.

Pretend to be your own customer every once and awhile.

Stop looking at your flow charts or profit & loss statements.  They don’t tell you what or where the issues are, only the revenue lost because of your mistakes.

Get out of your office and into “the field”.  Face the same scenarios as any other cash-paying customer.  How many touch-points do your customers experience during a transaction?  And better yet, where does the first touch point start?

Think of yourself as a first time customer of any business; let’s use a restaurant as an example:

You’re hungry, and decide to try that new restaurant about a mile down the road.  Maybe your first contact is with their website. Is the site professional looking and easy to navigate?  Can you find the address or hours of operation within 2 clicks or must you scroll or click through page after page to find that info?

In this case, you click away until you finally find their address.

Is their latest menu posted on the site?  If not, are you still willing to drive there without knowing if you like their style of food?

You found the phone number and decide to give them a call.  The phone rings and rings – seems like an eternity until someone finally picks up and in a rushed tone says hello.

Without going too far,

do you have a great impression of this restaurant at this point? 

Assuming you’re willing to try this restaurant, here are a few more items to gauge.

  • Is there ample parking?
  • Where you warmly greeted upon entering?
  • Were you seated quickly or told there is a long wait?
  • Are the menus clean and easy to read?
  • Are the servers knowledgeable about the food and drink?
  • Was your food prepared as intended and served on time?
  • Are the servers attentive to their patrons or do they gather in packs in the rear of the business?

If you answered no, probably the negative comments and feedback from your customers are justified.  Or are they “just complaining”?

The customer experience is measured by the positive touch points before, during & after receiving your product.
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  • In your retail store, are your aisles straight with all the products organized?
  • Is your in-store signage clear and accurate?
  • Have you staffed enough employees to service the anticipated amount of customers?

How can this experience be what you expect when there are so many obstacles to overcome?

But you sit in your office and wonder why business is bad?  You bemoan your customers.  “They’re becoming so difficult” you say.  “Every day is a challenge, it shouldn’t be like this.”

Your reports don’t tell you if your employees are customer-centric or employee-centric.  What’s more important to them, or their main topic of discussion; finding ways to assist your customer with a sale or what nightclub your coworker went to last night?

Your customer is demanding and wants a discount, why is that?  Maybe the price doesn’t match the service given or its expected value.  The customer deserves nothing less and it’s your job to provide the value to match the price.

Value is subjective.

Customers spend more if the perceived benefit of owning your product or service is higher than what another business offers.

Customers must value your product more than they value their money.
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But how do you value your product?  What is it like to be a customer of your business? What experience would you have if you tried to buy from you?

Maybe it’s time to pretend to be your own customer.  What surprises await you?


Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve DiGioia
Steve uses his 20+ years of experience in the hospitality industry to help companies and their employees improve service, increase morale and provide the experience their customers' desire. Author of "Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift...Even If You're a Bad Waiter" and named an "ICMI Top 50 Customer Service Thought Leader" and a "Top Customer Service Influencer" by CCW Digital, Steve continues his original customer service, leadership and management-based writings on his popular blog.


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