The Customer Experience

Field Notes Sweet Tooth

I recently found Field Notes as a way to regain the lost art of writing things down. Their designer, Aaron Draplin is an amazing speaker [see his Ted talk], and you can tell his philosophy and approach have permeated the company and experience.

[Let me be really clear up front, this is not a paid advertisement. I do not have anything to gain by writing about this product. I purchase them just like anyone else and I typically do not mention actual companies or products in this post, but the repeated positive experience has created an exception.]

There is something about writing something down, especially in an electronic age. The feel of the paper, the ink of the pen. Recent studies have found that writing things down (versus typing) may help us learn and retain more.

I have been filling up my own Field Notes memo books over the past years. Savoring each word, idea, and memory. They captured thoughts from random to sacred. Sitting on a park bench writing down dreams and ideas felt special and meaningful.

I have started giving them away to my close friends, inviting them into the experience.

Recently I subscribed to their quarterly shipment.

I expected to just receive the newest and latest colors/styles each quarter. But I began to realize it was more than just a few books.

Many companies sell you products.

There is something you need. You order it or go to the store and purchase it. You use it up. You purchase it again.

But a few companies invite you into an experience.

Something different, something unique. The more you spend time with them, the more you feel like you are part of something more.

As each quarterly shipment arrived, there was always something extra.

A pencil.

A pen.

A small gift.

When one shipment arrived, it even included candy to celebrate the “sweet tooth” edition.

They are also the company with the “who to blame” check box, to make sure the got the order right.

The experience continued.

I kept thinking to myself, this company is different, the experience feels different, and somehow special.

The other day another package arrived.

It was not time for another quarterly shipment.

It was something different.

To celebrate their 30th quarterly shipment, they sent along a bonus “Thank You” to all of the subscribers, customized to us.

Going the extra mile to make your customers feel important moves the relationship from a product to a customer experience.

What can we all do to move our customers from products to an experience?

To Field Notes: Thanks for leading the way.

Field Notes Carl Weber

 

Work Life Separation

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We get a quick note on the weekend.

“Sorry to bug you about work on a weekend, but I need…”

Or a text late at night.

“Hey, sorry, I know it is late, but can you send along…”

And there was an email early in the morning.

“Sorry, this is last-minute, but can you give us a call right away…”

These requests were simple. They took just a few moments of our time.

We enjoyed being able to respond. It didn’t even feel like work.

There was a time when we thought we needed work life separation.

There was a time when we thought this divide was important.

There was a time when work felt like work.

Over the past few years the work life separation wall has slowly been dismantled.

Brick by brick, the need to be distinct and have boundaries has faded away.

The work life separation wall has become a smeary, messy, blended tapestry.

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When our work, and life is about helping others, both happen at interesting hours, times, and moments.

It doesn’t feel like work. It isn’t distinct from our life. It just is.

We live and work at weird hours when there is a need. There are no office hours.

We aren’t counting the days until we retire. We just live.

We live and work in various locations, and at various times.

We meet the needs around us throughout our entire journey.

There is no longer a need for the work life separation.

The absence of that artificial barrier sets us free.

 

The Attempted Compliment

Sometimes we become hardened towards those around us, even our customers.

Prior interactions, prior conflicts, or prior assumptions cloud our current view.

They complained, they were unhappy, they were…[insert specifics here].

Now we see them and the world through a tainted lens.

I heard a story the other day.

A customer complained. They needed some assistance. They needed something corrected.

A small team was mobilized to respond.

This team was on-site to solve the issue.

The customer approached this team at the end.

The customer began to speak.

The team responded first.

“Are you here to complain again, about something else?”

But, the customer was not there to complain.

The customer was attempting to compliment the response, the team, and the work.

The attempted compliment was shut down before it could happen.

Hardness had set in.

Where have we become hardened?

Where have we missed the attempted compliments?

Take a moment today and think about what you are holding onto, and against others (including your customers), that may be getting in the way of what they deserve.

The Right Vibe

I sat and watched them interact with each other. Laughing, joking, and connecting. It was their party, I was only there because someone close is now part of this team.

I could have been the outsider, but felt completely at home.

My mind wandered back through all of the interactions I have had with various people on this team over the years.

There was something different about them. Something great.

They all had the Right Vibe.

Vibe: a person’s emotional state or the atmosphere of a place as communicated to and felt by others.

I happened to be sitting next to the owner. I couldn’t help myself.

“I have to share something with you. Over the years I have watched your team, and your people. They have a certain Vibe about them. You are in the health industry, and they all have a certain healing Vibe. You feel it when you walk in the reception area, treatment room, and even this party. Thanks for creating the Right Vibe, it is amazing to witness.”

There is a lot of talk out there now about the culture of an organization being the deciding factor on true success. Many are pointing to the culture (what I like to call the Vibe) of an organization as one of the most important aspects to foster and create.

How can you provide amazing customer service if your Vibe is negative, controlling, and overly micro-managed?

How can you provide health care if your Vibe is unhealthy?

How can you motivate your employees to care about a customer’s needs when your Vibe leaves your employee’s needs unmet?

Think about your Vibe. What is being communicated or felt by others?

It may be time to find the Right Vibe.

The Customer Service Check Box

Customer Service Check Box

The process seemed like every other company. Place the order. Wait for the package to arrive. Check to make sure that everything is in the package upon arrival.

But this company is different.

At the top of the packing sheet is this small little check box.

“Problem with your order? Let us know! You can blame:”

What a simple way to send a message to your customers.

“We may not get everything right, but let us know if we don’t. And by the way, we are also letting you know that there are actual people behind this order. People who are responsible for getting it right.”

But this check box is not just for the customer, it is for those 6 people who work there. They take pride in their work, enough to say “I am putting my name on this and call me out if it is wrong.”

What simple check box, process, or idea could send the same message to your customers?

By the way, when the order arrived it was not exactly what I ordered. You see this company always adds a little extra bonus gift with your order. So I got what I ordered and a nice surprise as well.

Think about the message that sends.

 

The Pitch versus The Partnership

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(Image Courtesy of usdailyreview)

There are a lot of ways you can sell yourself, your company, your product, or your organization.

How you sell says a lot about you, your company, your product, and your organization.

Most selling can fall into two distinct categories.

The Pitch and The Partnership.

The Pitch describes how you are going to solve the problem, provide the solution, or deliver the product.

The Partnership describes how together you will solve, build, develop, and create.

The Pitch describes all your accomplishments.

The Partnership describes how you have helped others accomplish their goals.

The Pitch pushes forward when there is resistance.

The Partnership listens when there is hesitation.

The Pitch downplays prior service issues.

The Partnership owns prior service issues.

The Pitch wants to close this deal.

The Partnership wants to make sure this deal is one of many.

The Pitch is proud.

The Partnership is grateful.

The Pitch can give you short-term success.

The Partnership can give you success over your lifetime.

When it comes down to The Pitch versus The Partnership, which will you choose?