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The Customer Experience Conundrum, Part Five

Fifth in a short series of blog posts on this topic

This is the fifth in a short series of posts about the customer’s perspective. I believe that companies that do not put themselves in their client’s shoes, are failures.

This has been a recurring experience for me lately. Companies, like people, speak volumes about their values through their actions. When they act like they don’t care what their customers are experiencing, it means that they actually don’t care about their customers. Which to me is weird, because without happy customers, the business probably cannot continue to exist and make money, and therefore cannot pay its employees. I think that being nice to customers and keeping them happy should be as important as profits.

Some companies hate unsolicited client feedback. As a client experiences an interaction with a brand, sometimes things are confusing, or the interface does not work, or the process does not seem intuitive, or the client does not know when their shipment will arrive, or the client does not really know much about the product they are buying, and so on. The client then contacts the company. Their communication can be a complaint, or a question, or it can be feedback to the company. Ultimately the client, whether on purpose or not, is saying: here is how the interaction between me and you is going, from my perspective, and it needs improvement, or at least clarification. The company has the option to acknowledge that perspective, and take it upon themselves to clarify things for the customer (and then go away and fix the miscommunication and/or process and interface issues). Doing anything else with that customer feedback, like dismissing the client or telling them off only hurts the brand.

This applies to B2C, B2B, and I2C (institutions) scenarios. All of them should be interested in what their customers have to say. There are formal methods, courses, and styles for managing feedback. There are even ways of pursuing it (like customer intelligence research and analysis). But alas, a lot of companies are not interested.

I know why I have been having this kind of encounter with companies so much. It is because I have been trying to be observant about my experiences, and I assume that the companies I interact with are interested in hearing about my observations. Unsolicited descriptions of my experience are not always welcome. So what should I do with my customer experiences? Perhaps I should just buy stuff and keep my mouth shut, and think that sometimes it will be a good experience, and sometimes it might be a bad experience, but that nobody really cares what I think.

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