It got me to thinking about an article that I wrote here on Forbes back in February called: The Little Things That Destroy Your Customer Experience.
In that article, I suggested a list of ‘little things’, gripes if you like, that can wreak havoc on your customer experience and on your customer’s perception of your customer service. I also went on to suggest that businesses often have a tendency to focus on big, new and ‘shiny’ initiatives rather than fixing the little things that often go wrong.
As it turns out, focusing on the ‘big’ things and overlooking the ‘little’ things may be a really big mistake. Lewis and Webster’s research and their article suggests that, when it comes to customer service and how our brains work:
“our reward pathways [in our brains] over-react disproportionately to losses in comparison to gains. This is why we humans are so loss averse and why understanding how your customers have been let down in the past is so important – there is little that motivates us more than the promise of help to avoid the crushing disappointment associated with unexpected losses.”
Therefore, whilst focusing on conceiving, implementing and delivering a customer service or experience strategy based on delight or ‘wow’ may feel like a more positive and better approach to customer experience, it turns out that a strategy of minimising disappointments could offer a better return on our investment of time, money and resources.
When it comes to how our brains work and what is important to us, according to Lewis and Webster’s research, the gold of customer service and customer experience is in fixing the mistakes, the problems, the ‘grit’, the hiccups, the gripes and the average. And, fixing them first. It may not be sexy but it’s more likely to be effective and deliver returns.
Customers, it seems, are pretty simple creatures, really. Most customers will be happy if things just work, first time, easily and all of the time. Minimise their disappointments and negative surprises and it’s pretty likely that you’ll create happy customers.
So, unless you have perfect delivery in all areas of your business, having a strategy based on delight or ‘wow’ is not likely to pay as well as a strategy that eliminates disappointment first.
Where are you focusing first?
[Note: I have since posted The Little Things That Destroy Your Customer Experience on a number of LinkedIn groups and on my own blog and asked people to suggest their own ‘little things’. The response has been great and, in the near future, I will post a crowd-sourced, ‘big’ list of little things that destroy your customer experience. Watch this space for that update.]
This post was originally published on my Forbes.com column.