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Clean TOILETS, kids and CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE!

Written by: Kushal Dev | Co-founder, Customer Guru

What kids and clean toilets can teach us about Customer Experience?

On a recent eat-out night with my son, we visited this “famous” pizza place. Though I am not a very big fan of self service restaurants, I tend to give in to please my little one. We placed our order with a courteous and smiling staff. While waiting for our order, we were having our usual father-son time – some fun, some laughter and some life-lessons. The biggest life-lesson I could teach him that day was why he should not reach out to the next table for their pizza! Out of no where, my son abruptly said that he wanted use the loo! Well, you got to go when you got to go (irrespective of the fact that you are coming straight from home where toilets are a lot more manageable…but explain that to a kid!!). So, we step in to the washroom only to realize it was not among the cleanest ones. Nevertheless the needful was done, and I thought it was my duty to report the unclean toilet at the reception. The exuberant smile of the staff soon turned into a helpless one. I was explained that there was a fixed schedule for cleaning and the janitor was not available at that time. I was handed a feedback form to be filled and dropped in the feedback box, to be cleared every 15 days! This effectively meant that an unclean toilet would go unreported for 15 days. While I did what I was asked to, I was left wondering – is that a process flaw or lack of will?

We did have our meal, but my son told me that next time, for our father-son date, he’d want to try a place that has cleaner washrooms.

I was surprised that even with the enormous spend on branding, marketing etc. the company failed to provide a stellar customer experience. So what could have been done better.

Take action based approach 

Don’t let customer feedback get into a research cycle. Technology can easily be used to report issues which require immediate action. Focus on delighting the customers while they are in your premises and they will come back. You can either spend “X” on retaining these customers or “10X” to acquire new ones. Had the washroom been cleaned as per our feedback, and the same communicated to us, my son wouldn’t want to try new places.

Be transparent

If the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, then there is a definite disconnect. A filled form from a box or the whole stack of feedback forms can disappear into thin air. Your staff can ask for a good rating or hide a bad one. If you do not know what your front-line is up to, you can either just bask in the glory of a good feedback score or be sure about it!

Empower employees 

Your front-line employees ARE the face of your organisation. Empower them to go out of their way to delight customers and your brand will definitely shine. If they are not sure of what is to be done with something as trivial as an unclean toilet, then there is certainly something wrong!

So, the next time your management team plans a routine visit to different outlets, you know what to do. Along with getting them to taste the new item on the menu and the new flavour of beer, ask them to use the toilet as well!

“A stellar customer experience is not just about a great product but its your willingness to use every customer touch point as an opportunity to delight your customer”.

Would love to hear your comments, thoughts and ideas.

Reach me at kushal@customerguru.in

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