Customer Experiences Series – Case Study One

Case study one, showcasing how to evaluate customer experiences.

In today’s consumer age, it is important to consider the ‘customer journey’ when attempting to maximise business success. Many companies allocate massive budgets to ‘re-branding’ and ‘marketing,’ but few consider third-party insights. Gaining a non-biased, objective, viewpoint on store processes, service delivery and functions is invaluable. We have all heard of customer experience horror stories, ignoring the fact that it could be happening in our own businesses. See below for a recent, real time account of a ‘bad customer experience.’The following account is from a senior manager of our internal team, who has extensive experience and understanding of how a business should be run.

     ‘I entered a high-end textiles outlet looking for a small piece of blackout fabric. There are a few around my area and I decided to try the most professional looking one. I needed a small piece for a very specific reason.

     Upon entering the store, I observed two staff members who appeared to be available to provide service. One provided a brief greeting from afar. There were no other customers in the store, for the full duration of my visit. I approached the staff member at the counter and made my enquiry. They merely stated, “Down there in the landing” which was out of view. No attempt to follow me and provide assistance was given as I was looking for the product.

     Once I found the product, I went back to the staff member at the counter. I took the entire roll of fabric to them. All the while another staff member watched me and did not offer assistance. Once at the counter, I stated that I only wanted around 20 millimetres of material as it was for a small area. The staff member stated, “You have to buy the entire roll or nothing.” I specifically asked for a small offcut previously and restated my enquiry. The staff member then showed me a product where I could have just 20 millimetres of material. They carried the material along the floor which dirtied one end and immediately went to cut a piece that was far too large for what I wanted. I quickly stopped them and reiterated that I wanted 20 millimetres of fabric, to which they finally complied.

     I then asked how much it would cost. I could not quite understand the staff member the first time, only hearing a price that seemed too high. After asking for them to repeat themselves, they stated a new price that was three times lower. When they cut the piece of fabric, the staff member queried as to why it was dirty. I explained it was due to one end of the fabric being lugged along the floor. The staff member made no response, which was an indication as to the communication that was provided throughout the transaction. The staff member proceeded to sell me the dirty part of the fabric and a farewell comment was given. I most certainly will not return to this store.’

     Due to the nature of our business, we often read accounts of poor customer experiences; some of which are much worse than the above account. The textile outlet in question had professional signage and a lovely appearance, however the service was the most important factor in terms of obtaining a regular customer. This happens more often than any business manager or owner would like to think.
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