I used to call it the "smell of a place". When you walk into a shop, a corporate head office or a boutique small business, does it appear like people love what they're doing? Are they genuinely involved in their jobs or are they merely going through the motions?
Frontline experience dictates at least half of the total experience many customers have with a company is with .
A lot of times, it's driven by the small things - next time you are at a Four Seasons look at how many of the small things are taken care of - we've come to understand that 82 items are routinely taken care of.
A lot of times, the torture test for the "smell" is what happens when the boss is not around. Take a visit to Westjet airlines for a 6:30am flight to get a handle on great customer experiences before the first coffee.
Sometimes, these experiences shake us out of our daily patterns and make us want to share them with others. Call them "acts of wow", "moments of magic" or "pursuit of excellence" but they make people buzz.
Some experiences of mine that recently to experiences going well beyond or below-the-call and have created conversations in my world:
On the positive:
- the outright friendliness of Buffalo airport parking lot shuttle drivers
- the lifesaving customer service and first name comfortability of my local UPS store (Sherway Gardens)
- the welcoming appeal of my local Starbucks - free coffee when I stand too long in line and the efficiency in finding my power cord (on Kingsway and Bloor West)
- the patience of my Netnation server support people - thanks for not thinking I was completely out to lunch on a piece of malicious code we fixed together
On the negative:
- the arrogance of a collected series of Visa customer service people
- the unbelievable slowness of Staples Business Depot print staff
- the tone deafness of my Bell business phone customer service staff
- the ineptitude of craft sellers Durie Lane to find a matching urn (perhaps no coincidence the store is now out of business)
My view of each brand has been enlightened or pockmarked by individual employees embrace of their companies and work environment, and in some cases, outright disregard.
We've developed a 100 pt.survey for clients that cesses out a score suggesting top-level front line fanship, above-service standards and customer face-to-face engagement.
Arrive at a score of 85 and you are a fully-committed, Frontline Word of Mouth Evangelist, between 70 and 85 and you are an emotionally connected Frontline Word of Mouth Advocate and between 50 and 70 and you are a satisfied and loyal Frontline Word of Mouth Engaged Soul.
Let's not even go near under 50 as a score, although our belief is 65-75% of frontline staff operate at this level.
Here are 10 components to the survey:
i) Personal Assets (10 pts.) - do you have a natural set of skills that lend themselves well to frontline WOM?
ii) Company/Brand Alignment (10 pts.) - are you living the life and genuinely excited about the corporate/brand and their values?
iii) Customer Focus (10 pts.) - are you driven by trying to understand and satisfy customers?
iv) Experience Building (10 pts.) - are you committed to not only providing a service but an experience?
v) Consistency/Remarkability (10 pts.) - even on "bad days", do you still go the extra mile and get customers to rave about you?
vi) Team/Culture Builder (10 pts.) - do you improve the morale and customer service of the people around you?
vii) Passion/Problem Solving (10 pts.) - are you enthusiastic about customer interactions, even negative ones?
viii) Growth and Development (10 pts.) - are you committed to personal growth and learning?
ix) Story and Surprise Building (10 pts.) - are you creating and sharing things that people will talk about through your creativity, mastery and experimentation in your role?
x) Valued Partnership and Evangelism (10 pts.) - do you feel valued in your company and feel you can leave your personal mark?
So what's your score? more importantly, what's your frontline staff's score?
In fairness, there are a subset of questions under each category and with many companies, we add and tailor specific questions that make sense for their objectives, culture and work styles to give us a fuller view.
Ready to take a Customer Experience Fitness test? Have a spin by Agent Wildfire if you'd like to connect with us on Frontline Customer Experience WOM Audit.