There are many labels for our current business climate. There is the connection economy, the digital economy, and my personal favorite is a label of, service economy. Regardless of the label, real customer experience connections and moments are more important now than ever.
When we think of connection, we often think of social media experiences. Connecting, friending, and following all wrap meaning around the social media experience. Those are really just faux connections though. Yes, they have some importance, but they aren’t the same as making a real connection.
Recently I was returning home after spending more than seven hours driving on the road. It was dark, cold, and I was hungry.
One of my favorite fixes for this is a carryout pizza. Just minutes away, I made the call to the pizza shop and arrived with precise timing.
Rush of Frustration
As I stepped out of my car, a pizza delivery person rushed around me from the side. He was talking to himself, mumbling something about kid’s behavior and their parents, and discipline. He must have just had a difficult delivery.
Although my day was long and hectic, I was tired, and I was hungry, I somehow felt this was going to be an interesting moment.
He rushed into the pizza shop, threw down his pizza bags, shed a coat, and stepped behind the cash register. I stood opposite him, waiting patiently.
He attempted to login and couldn’t get the code right, he was breathing heavy, and was obviously frustrated.
After a moment or two, he put both his hands out in front of him, palms down, and quickly swooshed his arms to both sides in a movement signifying calmness. He took a deep breath, looked up at me and said, “How are you doing sir?”
I said, “I’m OK, it’s OK.”
He said, “It’s been a crazy night, a crazy, crazy night.”
I said with a patient smile, “It’s all just moments. Just moments, it will be alright.”
His eyes shifted to the side in a moment of thought, then his shoulders dropped, he relaxed, he smiled, and we were, connected.
Customer Experience Connections
Sometimes when we say customer experience what we really mean is forming a connection. It is isn’t a like on Facebook, it isn’t a new follower on Twitter, and our network hasn’t just expanded on LinkedIn.
All of those things may cause a rush of dopamine in a technology-connected society. The purchase of a lottery ticket may do that too. The reality of outcomes sometimes makes us crave more.
A true connection is something different, a little more intense, and lasting.
Sometimes one of the best things to improve the customer experience is generosity. It doesn’t matter how your day is going, it matters more when you hold a door for someone, smile first, or make the moment more human.
These connections are valuable. More importantly, they are often repeated and shared.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.