Bad Customer Experiences Hurt Everyone

Two companies, two reps, and two very different outcomes. How I experienced the stark differences in customer experience in a single day.

The experiences you provide your customers can have a profound impact on your future success.

In management, it’s important to create a culture where customer experience is key to everything you do. Recently I was reminded of this when I had two vastly different experiences in just a single day.

The Bank That Didn’t Care

Recently I filled out a bank authorization form, giving my brother’s cell details since he would be handling some transactions from now on, and signed all the paperwork. It was over in minutes, or at least it should have been.

For the next two months my brother complained that he wasn’t receiving codes. With every transaction performed, I had to call the accounting department at our family business and give the code so the transaction can be authorized. This inconvenienced both the family business and myself. So, when it had continued through the second month, I went back to the bank.

I found the same customer representative working but didn’t get the response I expected. In fact, I almost couldn’t believe what she said to me.

“It’s my last day at work. You’ll need to speak to another rep.”

Maybe the representative had already lost access credentials? But, considering that the issue was likely her mistake, she could have gone the extra mile to get help and have the phone number changed immediately.

Luckily, I spoke to somebody else and had the problem resolved, but the 'damage' was done. First and foremost, I was disappointed, had lost respect for the representative, and by extension her employer.

Compared to another experience I had on the very same day; the bank looked like amateurs that simply didn’t care.

When Reps Go Beyond Expectations

I use DHL for a lot of my shipping. I find them to be reliable. I also found out recently that they provide an amazing customer experience.

I had ordered some books from the U.S. and called my usual representative on her cell phone to get some details. I needed the freight charges and possible pickup location.

Pani Economidou, 'my' DHL representative, was actually on leave that day, but she took complete ownership. She asked for three minutes while she called into the office to get some details. She let me know the cost and where to collect. On top of that, she called back again to tell me the opening hours, which she had forgotten to tell me on the initial call.

Pani could have asked me to call the contact center. After all, she was on leave, it’s wasn’t her problem, right?

Lasting Impressions

Both experiences left lasting impressions on me. My bank representative probably didn’t care about 'my problem', despite likely being at fault. I should point out that I’m based in Cyprus where there’s a tight knit business community. I’ll likely run into this representative in another scenario at another company. Most probably I’m going to have doubts about her and the business once again.

Pani went beyond the expectations I already had for DHL. I now have a better impression of the company. Most importantly, I see her as an exemplary customer experience champion. Whether I talk to her again at DHL or anywhere else that she goes, I’ll carry that positive impression with me.

If you’re in management and you have staff like the bank representative, you might as well tell people outright that your company doesn’t care. What does it say if you can’t get customer experience right from the ground level?

If you have staff like Pani and actively work to promote a customer-first culture, then you’re certainly doing something right.

Customer experience matters, and it goes far beyond the moment. The best leaders never forget it.