couple weeks ago my wife, my oldest daughter and I stopped at Chipotle for lunch. We were in no particular hurry.
When we got to the front of the line my wife ordered a chicken burrito bowl. The young lady behind the counter informed us that they were currently out of chicken and that it would be about five minutes before they had any more. We all wanted chicken so we quietly stepped aside to let others behind us order.
It couldn’t have even been five minutes later when the young lady motioned to us that the chicken had been replenished and they were ready for us. We proceeded through the line as usual and came to the register to pay. It was at that point that the manager said, “It’s on me. I’m paying for your lunch since you had to wait.”
I think we may have slightly protested, but he insisted and apologized for the wait. My wife’s response had to be music to his ears. “I already loved Chipotle, now
I love it even more,” she said with a big smile.
As I walked away from the counter to find a table I couldn’t help but think about what that young manager had just done. I even talked about it briefly with my wife and daughter as we ate our lunch.
I thought, “That’s a smart
business person.” Yeah he just gave away $20, but I assure you that based on our experience, we’ll be back again and again
My question for you today is, “What kind of customer experience are you creating?” Are you creating ho-hum experiences, or even worse, or are you creating “I love this place
” type of experiences. The interesting thing is that it doesn’t have to be expensive to create the latter.
I’d like to share with you two
more of the best ways I’ve seen to create positive customer experiences without giving away the farm.
Coming Back for More
1. Consistently deliver on your brand promise.
This is pretty basic, but so many don’t
do it. Consistency is the key to developing and maintaining a strong brand
. When people know what to expect, and it meets a felt need, they’re more likely to come back for more.
Your brand doesn’t even have to be high-end to be effective. Take McDonalds for instance. When I was growing up (it seems so long ago) you always knew you could get a clean bathroom at McDonalds. It’s one of the reasons so many families who were traveling stopped at McDonalds for a meal. It certainly wasn’t for the dining experience. Or was
Actually, I’ve come to believe it was not only for the bathrooms but also for the dining experience itself. But not because it was so great. Rather, because it met a basic need, and we knew exactly
what kind of experience we were going to get. The burgers and fries tasted the same whether we were in Arizona or Minnesota or Pennsylvania. We were rarely, if ever, disappointed.
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock
2. Be honest with them.
I know that can be scary at times, but honesty really is the best
policy. I had a customer many years ago, when I was the COO of another company, who told us that one of the main reasons they continued to do business with us was not that we were perfect or flawless, but that we were honest about our mistakes and addressed them swiftly.
This was a very large and profitable customer for us and it would have been very costly to lose them. One production cycle we made a huge error in scheduling. Rather than fabricating something to keep us from looking bad, I was blatantly honest with the V.P. of Operations.
She was one of the toughest customers I’ve ever had. She never minced words. She was very blunt and very
demanding. But I always knew where I stood with her and she trusted me implicitly because I’d been honest and quick to act on numerous occasions.
In this instance she drilled me with questions, pressing me for information and firm commitments for where we were headed. Again, I was straightforward, and continued to keep her in the loop as the process unfolded. She remained a faithful customer for many years, even beyond when I left the company.
In Patrick Lencioni’s book, “Getting Naked
” he says that the main reason we stray from honesty is fear of losing the business. But, he posits, that naked honesty is actually refreshing to customers and usually builds the relationship rather than hurting it.
Consistency is the key to developing and maintaining a strong brand.
Back to Learning for a Moment
A couple weeks ago I told you that I’d be sharing some of my favorite ways to learn. I started with my list of top recommended books to read
. Today I’d like to pass on my recommendation for a few podcasts
that I listen to on a regular basis that have been especially instructive, challenging and encouraging.
Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast
is probably my favorite. Andy and his co-host only publish one podcast per month, and it is usually only about 20-25 minutes long, but it is top notch
stuff each and every month. He shares from his own experience in building one of the premiere organizations in his industry over the last twenty years. I deeply appreciate his humility and his wisdom as he shares.
This is Your Life with Michael Hyatt
is my second favorite. Michael publishes every week and the podcast is usually about 30-40 minutes. He has a delightful co-host, Michele Cushatt, who makes a strong
contribution as well. They cover a variety of topics from leadership to productivity to personal development to how to grow your influence. It is always packed with very clear, practical steps to growing in these areas.
Getting Things Done
is another of my top recommendations. It publishes every about every two weeks and varies widely in length. This podcast is all about productivity and focuses conversations around the GTD methodology. The thing I really like about it is that they interview a very broad audience of people from very diverse industries so you get a number of angles on how GTD can work for you.
Don’t forget to check out our podcast, “Stronger Leaders…Shaping Tomorrow
” which is published the first week of each month.
Question: How have you created great customer experiences? [question]great-customer-experience[/question]