My Encounter With The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

My Encounter With The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

It seems as if I'm seeing customer experience everywhere I go--even more so than usual lately. Customer experience has long been one of those near-and-dear topics for me. It's something I've blogged about with Sandra Bauman. It's something she and I have spoken about--in fact, we are speaking about it again later this month at The Quirk's Event in Brooklyn. We've considered the realm of the patient experience, too. So, I was excited to recently attend a local (!) keynote called Consistency and Trust: Essentials of Building Loyalty via the Customer Experience delivered by Scott Monty and hosted by the Detroit chapter of the American Marketing Association.

During his talk, Scott shared several memorable examples of organizations getting their customer experience right (as well as several getting it all wrong). Interestingly, one of those examples concerned Delta--an airline renowned for its historically poor customer experience. Evidence of what seems to be a recent investment in customer service, customers are now asked to take a one-question survey at the end of each service call. The question (paraphrased): "On a scale of one to five, with one being not at all likely, and five being extremely likely, if you were a business owner, how likely would you be to hire the person who just handled your call?"

Kudos to Delta for several reasons:

  1. proof point of an organizational investment in customer experience,
  2. use of a one-question survey, and
  3. fantastic choice of a survey question--both relevant and attention-getting for its distinctiveness.

Of course, the objective of investing in customer experience is to develop a loyal and engaged customer (fan!) base. Anecdotal evidence from my lunch walk today suggests Delta's strategy is working. My walking partner volunteered a recent unaided personal experience of her own with Delta. She had called to see if anything could be done with regard to a non-refundable, non-transferable airline ticket that she was unable to use due to a schedule change. She fully intended the answer to be a firm "no." She was shocked when, upon relaying her situation, the customer service representative issued her a full refund. Needless to say, her opinion about Delta is under reconsideration.

The Universe was clearly nudging me to write this post as I had my own stellar customer experience just this morning. Last week I splurged on an expensive body oil from Nordstrom (at the urging of these ladies, because word-of-mouth/influencer marketing, hello...). It arrived on Thursday. I loved it. I used it exactly one time and then promptly dropped it, shattering the glass bottle all over my shower floor, slashing my foot, and watching in dismay as my own personal frankincense trickled down the drain. I emailed Nordstrom customer service to share my tale of woe, opening my email with, "I know this is absolutely not your responsibility, but..." Their delightful response was in my email this morning:

I am sorry to hear of your experience. I went ahead and sent out a replacement Tata Harper Body Oil that will arrive Friday 2/12, at no charge. You will see an e-mail giving this new order a value, but you will not be charged for this replacement. Thank you for your patience with this matter, and please let me know if you have any questions.

This is why Nordstrom has a powerhouse reputation for customer experience and just another reason I love being a Rewards member. Customer experience pioneer, Mark Hurst suggested in his blog post this week that companies are "investing in a more balanced fashion to include some attention to the customer experience." Of course, this has been a core attribute of the Nordstrom brand for years, but if recent Delta experience is any indicator he may be correct!

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Innovation & Co-Creation In 18th Century Style

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