It was all set to be a slap-up dinner date for Jake Hall when he took his girlfriend Becky Dostal to the Harvester in Cheltenham recently.
But the couple were plunged into a “nightmare” and left “shocked” when they were told everything on the menu had run out – except the chicken.They stuck with it but were charged full price as well as a side order of no explanation as to why the cupboard was bare for hungry customers. Cue a story in the national newspapers.

“I’m not somebody that complains, and I didn’t complain at the time – but when I thought about it I realised it really was pretty poor,” Jake told the media.

I hope Jake and Becky have recovered from their shocking ordeal.

But how many times have you read stories like this – a poor customer experience attracting national press coverage, shared around social media and eliciting negative online reviews?

It’s all too common, and becoming more so.

Let me share some statistics. Following a bad experience 56% of people will never use a company again, 25% will tell friends to steer clear of the business, 20% will take revenge by posting a review online and 14% will share a poor experience on social media.

And obviously this doesn’t just apply to restaurants. It’s bank accounts, mobile phone contracts, new technology set-up, customer service calls … all coming under scrutiny like never before. At CX NPD, we see customer experience as the key battleground – and the only protectable competitive advantage businesses have.

We’re not alone in that thinking. Deloitte, Gardner and Walker have all released recent reports that stress the importance of CX as the key brand differentiator. So here are five brief tips to ensure you don’t chicken out of providing a great customer experience:

  • Understand your customer. Create personas to help you visualise who they are, their demographic, desires and behaviours.
  • Think about the customer journey. Create a customer journey map and visualise how and when they’ll interact with you.
  • Avoid a technology-first approach. If you’re creating a new product always make sure customer wants and needs are the first consideration.
  • Consider your competitors. What are the pain points for their customers, and how can you negate these in your offering?
  • Track how things are going and fine-tune. You can always improve – and customer expectations only go up, not down.

If you prioritise customer experience the rewards can be enormous – both for you, and for the people you serve. Go for it!


About the author

Jeroen Visser is an expert in Customer Experience with extensive experience in New Product Development. He is a founding director of CX NPD.