Transperia Group, Inc.
Transformational Experiences That Drive Business Results

Posts Tagged ‘Customer Experience’

The Power of Person

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Personal connection is powerful. And it’s foundational, if not the cornerstone, to creating a great experience.

I’m always amazed at how much my experience at a store, restaurant, with a vendor, or wherever is affected by how I’m treated by the front-line person. It can literally make or break the experience for me (and determine whether or not I do business there).

I refer to it simply as “the power of person.” People want to be treated like a real person, by a real person. Not a number, not an interruption, not a nuisance, not a means to a sale. A person. It’s shocking how much we’ve lost sight of that in our culture.

Creating transformational experiences for people does not always have to be a huge endeavor. Simply put, our people are one of the biggest keys to creating a great experience for others.

I try hard to create a good experience for my clients, vendors and employees every chance I get. And the formula is really pretty simple. Here are some things we strive to do at Transperia:

  • Treat people like they matter. And authentically care about them.
  • Value their time as equally important (or more so) as your own.
  • Be kind and polite…even if they are being rude or disconnected (you never know what might be on someone else’s plate, or what burden they might be carrying).
  • Help them reach their goals (which, in turn, almost always helps you reach yours).
  • Be real and authentic. You don’t have to spill your guts inappropriately, but let them see the real you.
  • Have some fun/bring some joy in the midst of the interaction. I’m not suggesting telling jokes or not taking things seriously. Rather, look for ways to bring joy, if possible. Sometimes this requires a little bit of established trust or relationship, but if you authentically are looking for ways to bring some joy, it will go a long way.

These are just a handful of things that help a client feel like they are a “person” to you. You start by being a real “person” with them and letting them know how much you value them. If you can authentically do these things, your customers/clients will look forward to interacting with you—and doing business with you.

This isn’t rocket science and it isn’t a costly program to implement. If you (and the people on your team) simply employ “the power of person” you will stand out from the crowd. You will already be enhancing the experience. Best of all, others will begin talking about you.

Do you have any other ideas of how to fuel “the power of person?” We’d love to see your comments.

It’s all about “Me”

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

I’m just looking for a little bit of fun and relaxation when I go out. I don’t want to have to work at anything, or try hard or wonder where I fit. I just want to get what I came for and be treated with a little respect.

I especially enjoy my experience if I believe the people serving me (waiter, salesperson, conference presenter, whatever) make me feel like they are actually there for me (not the other way around).

That’s a small part of what creates a good experience for me. A sense that it’s about me. Now, I know that life is really not all about me, but sometimes, it should feel that way. Examples:

  • at a restaurant
  • at a conference
  • at the hospital
  • when I’m on vacation
  • at the airport

The list could go on and on. If it’s not “about me”, then I walk. Or, if I don’t walk right at that moment, you can bet I won’t choose to be back any time soon.

How many of our everyday interactions could become meaningful experiences if only a little focus and effort were applied? What would life be like if the person at the DMV actually smiled at you, treated you kindly, didn’t rush you and didn’t make you feel like a number? We wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves.

In the end, it’s all about our customers, our audience, our clients, our viewers. If we don’t make it about them, then we may not see them again. And can we really blame them?

Potbelly Steps Up!

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Potbelly Sign

I have a new “Hero-CEO”. Bryant Keil, CEO of Potbelly Sandwich Works, has gone above and beyond in responding to my pickle saga (you can read my original post here). I thought it was only fair to tell the rest of the story.

A few days after I sent off my original letter to Mr. Keil, I received a personal voice mail from him telling me he’d received my letter. He apologized for the situation and asked if I’d call him back. He then left his direct number.

I called the next day and Mr. Keil immediately took my call and again apologized for the “pickle incident”. He said he appreciated that my letter was very constructive. He told me they work very hard to create the best experience for their customers, but because they are growing so fast, it’s sometimes hard to pass the culture along to everyone. I told him I completely understood.

He added that, like me, when he orders a pickle, he never gets it sliced.

He thanked me again for my letter and said, “It was important to me that I give you a call. This is what it’s all about.”

I was shocked and amazed. To think the CEO of a large company would take the time to make a personal phone call to a disappointed customer was simply mind-boggling to me. His kind gesture showed such great respect and more than made up for the original issue.

But that’s not all.

The next day I received a call from the General Manager of the Algonquin Potbelly store. She apologized for the situation and asked if she could bring dinner to my home for my entire family (unbelievable!). I thanked her, but said that wouldn’t be necessary. She then asked if I could describe the Manager who treated me disrespectfully. I mentioned that I didn’t really want to get anyone in trouble, but she assured me that she simply wanted to reinforce Potbelly’s excellent standards on the importance of the customer’s experience.

I thanked the Manager for her kind phone call and assured her that I would be back in their store some time soon.

But the story doesn’t even end there.

A few days later I received another call from the Potbelly District Manager. He apologized for the experience I had in the store and wanted to double check to make sure the store Manager had taken care of me. He also said that they had “addressed the issue internally”. I assured him that everyone had gone above and beyond to follow up with me and told him I would certainly be back in his store.

Again, amazing.

Culture starts at the top. It doesn’t always trickle all the way down, but a strong CEO knows the importance of carrying the culture and follows through to make sure everyone understands it and is owning it. That’s exactly what Bryant Keil did. He made sure (in multiple redundancies) that the Potbelly culture was carried out in my situation. That’s the sign of a great, “Hero-CEO”.