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  • Writer's pictureDave Ballesteros

Customer Experience - The True Battleground

Updated: Jun 25

Let’s face it, we can get almost any product or service we need in today’s world from multiple sources.  Whether it is an item at a store, a hotel room or a form of entertainment, we get to choose where and when we spend our money.  So, what makes us decide who to do business with?  The real battleground is in how we are treated and the overall experience.    

Customer Experience Battleground

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

~Maya Angelou

This should be remembered regardless of what type of offering you make to your customers.  The companies that get this right will win in the long run! 

We all probably notice the bad things that happen in a restaurant or hotel the most.  Why?  Well, we expect to get good service and be taken care of when we are in those settings. These will continue to be the industries that strive to excel, for the most part, but I pay attention to the details in almost any setting I am in.  If I am at a concert, a sporting event, or even the grocery store, I take note of how the employees treat each other and especially their customers.  After all it is not hard to be kind and even the slightest effort to accommodate a patron or co-worker stands out.  Unfortunately, this approach and attitude is not pervasive in all businesses.   

Lessons Learned: Navigating the Brooklyn Rental Market

Take for example a recent situation I was in where I helped my son and his friend to find an apartment in Brooklyn, NY. It is a very desired area for young people right now and, thus, a competitive rental market.  We used an app called Street Easy to find listings and spent three days bouncing around different neighborhoods and, in the process interacted with various real estate professionals. Once we chose the unit that fit their needs the best, we communicated with the broker and were promptly told that we would need to put down a good faith deposit right away to secure it.  I sent $1,000 to hold it and then we started the application process. While we were doing this, I was messaging with the broker and trying to firm things up like rent price, move in date, etc.  There was an aggressive nature to the negotiations, and I was told that the landlord really doesn’t like the unit to be empty and will take the first applicant that qualifies!  Wait a minute…what did I pay the deposit for again? 

We ended up securing the apartment but once they had their money (security deposit and first month’s rent), the dialogue went quiet very quickly.  We tried to find out about the move in process and how to get into the place when we arrive from Florida. The information was limited as no welcome packet was sent until we set out on the and 1,100+ mile journey (with a packed U-Haul) which said we were supposed to give them a minimum of one week’s notice before moving in!  Even as we were in the final leg on the New Jersey Turnpike, we were trying to call and get information and then had to track down the Super in the building when we got there to get in the locked door.  We never once even met anyone from the broker, the management company or even the Super but all along, they blamed each other for the lack of communication. I think it is fair to say it wasn’t matter of having an empty unit, but rather they just wanted to get paid and once they had their money, they were not at all concerned with providing a good experience to new tenants.   

The Importance of Customer - Centricity

This scenario could be tied back to the technology industry.  Imagine you contract for a new software application and after months of getting treated one way by a vendors sales resources, you sign the contract and make payment, only to be told “good luck getting it installed”.  This clearly would not lead to successful outcomes or a very happy client which is why it should NEVER happen.  In fact, nobody should be left to feel buyer’s remorse as it is easy to communicate well, show some empathy and take the little extra steps to make a buying experience pleasurable.  Even if the news is not ideal, being honest and forthcoming goes a long way towards building loyalty and strong relationships. 

Beyond the Product: The Importance of Holistic Service in Business

For this reason, try to look beyond the product or service you are buying and pay attention to the overall deliverable, inclusive of service.  Then do the same when you are servicing your own customers. This is a key focus of Flowstone as we advise our clients because getting the solution alone does not fix everything.  It is all in how it is applied and integrated into the overall process which will result in the way you feel.   

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