Whose experience is it anyway?
I've recently tried to learn Gaelic; a language spoken by my dad's family yet strangely alien to me despite hearing it all around me as a child.
Just how hard can it be? Very, as I quickly realised due to stringent grammar much more prescriptive than our rather more relaxed English tongue. The definitive 'the' in English covers singular and plural, without too much thought. In Gaelic there are eight forms of 'the' depending on gender, singular or plural not to mention exceptions!
'What is your name?' translates literally as 'what name is on you?' with great emphasis on the state of verbs.
Trying to get to grips with this very demanding grammar made me ponder how we become lazy in our use of language, taking poetic license when it suits us, particularly in marketing speak.
The term customer experience has been coined by organisations to mean something they own, and are responsible for bestowing on their customers. In fact the only owner of experience is the recipient whose individual experience will be unique rather like a fingerprint.
As an example, adverts for some credit cards suggest that they are responsible for creating out of this world experiences, stretching their appeal way beyond the truth. Smart organisations however understand their specific role in creating the best conditions for their customers to have a good experience; that might be a boring utilitarian function, performing consistently fast, seamless and secure transactions in the background in a financial world where consumers fear for their security.
There is also an argument that we have become so obsessed with tracking and measuring 'customer experience' that we may have tipped too far into this activity, at the expense of just doing what we are meant to be doing in the first place.
It takes great commitment to figure out what our role in the experience is; and even greater discipline to focus on dedicated delivery. Arguably efforts expended in this area will reduce the need to continuously obsess about measurement.
A consultant colleague of mine uses the 'soggy biscuit scenario' to demonstrate the danger of not understanding your strengths; a coffee shop owner decides to offer free biscuits to boost sales; the biscuits don't match the standard of his coffee and lead to negative comments; an own goal.
So perhaps it is time to challenge the purpose of customer service in each of our organisations, and really understand how we are creating or destroying our chances of customers experiencing what they expect. (See info on Principles of CCA Global Standard©)
A few of you have kindly hinted that the blogs are sometimes too long; and so I'll end on 'Abair ach beagan agus abair gu mach e'; which translates as, say but little and say it well!