When Granules become Grand- Customer Experience

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In Solar Physics, granules are understood to be visible structures in the photosphere of the sun, where hot gases rise and give off light and heat. Now to a non-physicist like me, this sounds very confusing and I am rhetorically quizzing within myself- what does this have to do with customer experience, at the slightest? My curiosity and yearn for clarity on the meaning of granules, kept travelling across the web and arrive at the geological viewpoint, which defines it as a clast of rock with a particle of approximately 2-4 millimetres in size. Now to the pharmacist, granules are understood to be small pills made from sucrose and particles gathered into a larger aggregate in which the original particles could still be identified. I can hear you saying, ‘Enough of these definitions and characterisation of granules,’ you are not alone on the rant- I am also tired of these scientific and geological definitions.

Let me tell you a story of an experience I recently had during my visit to Berlin, for the 40th BMW marathon and be the judge to see if there is any relationship between granules and my experience or if there is a far and wide gap? I am quite a decisive individual but it took over three weeks to choose my accommodation in Berlin- due to a wide array of choices and mixed reviews on trip-advisor. After the passage of three solid weeks contemplating on several accommodation options, I finally went for the grand hostel. My marathon buddy used the same hostel about a year ago- I liked his passionate recommendation and owing to the fact it was 200 meters from the Berlin Brandenburg gate, which is viewed as the neoclassical triumphal arch and also served as the marathon hub. A day before my journey, I went on the grand hostel website for directions from the Berlin Schonefeld airport, they provided a vivid direction like… ‘Take exit at the little flower shop and turn right’ and the website also displays this reassuring statement: ‘Got Lost? Just give us a call; we are there for you 24/7!!!’

On arriving at the hostel, from my experience in several hostels, hotels and guest inns, the first thing most would ask is: what is your name or where is your ID? I arrived at the four floor hostel, strolled through the doors and met this happy and friendly guy and the first thing he says is: ‘Hi, welcome! Can I get you some tea or water?’ I was taking aback, by some few meters of shock and surprise. This was strange as most hotels or hostels are more interested in finding out your name and giving you a quote for your stay than offering you a drink at the first instance of meeting. This is a very customer-centric hostel as I witnessed a fellow guest receiving the same kind of treatment from a different member of staff. On the day of my departure, I sat at the Lounge while I casually wait for the clock to tick along to the time of my onward journey. A new guest arrived with her luggage and a female member of staff smiled at her in a genuine and thoughtful manner and enthused, ‘Welcome to Berlin, would you like some apple or banana?’ She pointed towards a pile of fruits resting in a little plastic bowl. It dawned on me that this was a pattern and a philosophy entrenched within every member of staff. You could ask, ‘What pattern or philosophy is this?’ I would say it is the philosophy of : ‘when the granules becoming grand.’

Granules could be the fragments or little substances but may have a great impact not just on customer experience but humanity. Imagine planet earth without light and heat; existence would have been practically impossible. The granules in the photosphere of the sun are tiny but give off a grand impression of heat and light that accounts for our continual existence. Several customer experience research carried out highlight- the importance of little positive gestures like: showing genuine care to the customer as promoters of brand loyalty and building emotional connection than price reduction and promotion. The little extra- granules or soft impression builds that affinity with the customer and allows the brand to make the grand impression. Stan Phelps, of customer think wrote, ‘Giving little unexpected extras (glue) shows you care.’ Offering me a cup of tea by the hostel, was a granule gesture but left me with a grand customer experience – by the grand hostel!

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