Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Custome Experience - The Rest of The Story

As promised I am returning to finish the tale of my Journey to the restaurant. One must remember in all customer centered activities that the customer is always first, not necessarily always right, but always first. This should help to determine the order in which prioritizing business goals should be done. In most businesses it is centered around the product and the end sale.

When we came into the restaurant, we were greeted by a cheerful and warm manager who then personally introduced us to our hostess. Our hostess for the next 10 minutes didn't once center on her or the business, but centered the entire conversation on us our daughter (4 1/2yrs) and what we liked or disliked.

As we walked toward our chosen destination in the restraint we were continually and quietly taken in by the culture and ambience of our surroundings. True, there aren't a lot of businesses that can build an environment like a restaurant, but they can build an atmosphere of cooperative enthusiasm within the organization, provide a conducive atmosphere for customer/clients to feel relaxed in and the desire to comeback.

Actually If you are in retail, building an environment that brings in the customer and captivates them is no more than providing an increased customer experience. In doing so it will encourage them to stay longer and spend more. The idea isn't to encourage them to spend more, but to develop an enveloping experience that strengthens the customer relationship focusing on their needs. In focusing on your customers they will reward you with loyalty and increased spending, fulfilling the relationship promise.

Back to the restaurant, her first stop was to bring us by the kitchen, hmmm I thought, I have to cook my own meal? Then we were introduced to the chef and staff that would fix our food. Now, remember this is not an expensive, high end restaurant, however, nice touch team. To our surprise they were fixing a delicious seafood kabob. It wasn't what we had in mind in fact it isn't what we ordered, but according to our waitress it was part of the ongoing development of dishes to offer their clients.

Now R&D is an important part of any industry, but here, they involved their customers in this event. Something every business should keep in mind regardless of size or type. No, not focus groups, but real involvement where ideas can be driven by the customer. As part of the R&D experience we were offered a kabob as a free treat just for being there providing we offered feedback. We were then seated and felt as though we were part of the family.

In my next blog I’ll add a few more observations worth mentioning.

As always we invite you to comment or to add your views to this and any other blog. If you would like more information on the Customer Experience please visit"The Customer Development Center".

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