While reading Tom Asacker’s excellent post ‘Customer Service Is Dead!‘, I had one of those break through ‘a ha’ moments about customer experience thanks to Tom’s reminder of the good old days of the local service station:
Back in the day, when customer service was king, I worked after school pumping gas and handing out collectible tumblers at my father’s service station. That’s what they called it back then: a service station, not a gas station. The consistent delivery of fast and friendly service was a significant source of differentiation and, in many cases, a customer’s compelling reason to choose.
Tom continues on:
I can remember, as part of my aforementioned job, routinely checking customers’ oil levels. And I was never questioned when I advised them, frequently, that they were down a quart. When was the last time you had to add a quart of oil to your car between oil changes? I also remember squeegeeing windows and attending to tumbler requests, never once barked at to “hurry up!”
I’m stricken by the simple clarity gas station memories offer when trying to define the difference between customer service and customer experience – when was the last time you checked your customer’s oil and offered a top up without being asked?
Too often, customer service means reacting when something goes wrong, rather than providing preventative maintenance to keep the engine running smoothly in the first place. In the software industry, this added value could be as simple as scheduling a free system ‘health check’ with the customer, then offering advice on improving performance, configuring new features, or ensuring that recent bug fixes have been applied.
Customer service is supporting the software; Customer Experience is topping up the relationship with a quart of high-performance tweaking. This may or may not result in more immediate revenue, but it will likely generate goodwill and further loyalty with the customer.
What can you do to wash the customer’s window so they can see the road ahead clearly? You know, the road that leads them back to you and your services over and over again?