Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

The On-Line Customer Experience

Several years ago I wrote about “Human Free Service.”  A friend of mine had called me to share the exciting news that he had take a flight on Delta Airlines and didn’t have to deal with one of their employees until he actually boarded the plane.  When I share this with others, most assume that he was happy because he had found a way around dealing with the airline’s employees.  Actually he liked the employees.  It was that Delta had created a system (as have other airlines) that allowed him, the savvy business traveler, an easy way of purchasing a ticket, printing out a boarding pass, etc. – all done on-line, from the convenience of his own home.  To him, this was a great customer experience.

So, how can we transfer the idea of the on-line customer experience to our customers?

The bookstores are doing it.  Amazon took the lead, then Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc. Zappos sells shoes over the Internet.  You can buy tickets to just about any sporting and entertainment event on-line.

Just last week my assistant, Donna, came into my office very excited about the pizza she had ordered the night before.  It wasn’t actually the pizza that had her excited.  It was the experience.  Domino’s now has Pizza Tracker.  It allows you to go to the Domino’s website, order the pizza and track the progress.  The system even told her that Nathan would be delivering the pizza – and he did.  She loved being able to track her pizza.  Ordering a pizza has never been easier!

Here is the lesson, actually two of them.

Lesson One; Donna loved ordering her pizza on-line.  Actually, what she loved was tracking the progress.  Similar to the way on-line retailers will email you to let you know your order was accepted, shipped, etc.  People love this type of information.

Lesson Two: For years I preached that the customer experience comes from people doing business with people.  Now people can do business with your website, which like your employees, needs to be customer friendly.  Keep in mind that when there is a problem, your customer will want to talk to a live person – and we’re back to “people doing business with people.”  Part of what can make the customer experience amazing is when you are easy to do business with.  So, what makes doing business with you easy?  Is it your people?  Is it your technology?  Is it a combination of both?  The answer is…  Whatever the customer says it is!


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