You gain and you lose customers everyday. The sad unfortunate fact is the latter seems to be a more common experience for most organizations resulting in unnecessary dollars spent on gaining new ones. Has your organization seriously focused on why you are losing customers? Or a better question to ask is WHO is causing you to lose these customers? A recent visit to a local bank provided me with an eye opening experience which may help you answer this almost impossible question.

I was on a routine visit to a major international bank to make payment on a credit card and I choose to do this personally due to my lack of faith in the local mail delivery service (I will save the reasoning for this for another time). As I entered the grandly laid out and contemporarily decorated lobby of the bank, I habitually made a bee line to the Queue Management System number dispenser. There to greet me was a layer of dust marked with four clean circles of what must have been the feet of the QMS machine. There were no other trails for me to follow so it was evident it didn’t just sprout legs and galloped away. I glanced around the lobby only to be greeted by a human face as I reached my neck’s pivoting limit of approximately 180° and it spoke! (as most faces can).

“Sorry, the number machine has been moved to the entrance where it will be easier for our customers to see” said the pleasantly smiling face as he pointed towards the vicinity of the main entrance. Ladies and gentlemen, I had just encountered a friendly bank staff. Unlike you who are falling off your chair now in disbelief of this enviable experience, I maintained composure. The good service doesn’t stop there.

I was invited to sit by another staff, attended to like royalty at the teller counter and even was at the receiving end of a smile by the bank officer who took the time to look up in the midst of his utmost important task of signing off on a hundred documents. I was WOW’ed by a bank. Imagine that! This definitely deserves a compliment.

I walked toward a ‘Manager’ plaque strategically placed without obstruction on a grand oak table to share my experience and deliver my compliment; pinching myself as I made my way. This is where it gets interesting. The gentleman seated there glanced up and through gritted teeth gnarled “What can I do for you?” Taken aback, I hesitantly began to relate my tale of exemplary service and before I could finish telling him about the relocated QMS, he snapped back with “QMS is better where it is now!” An uncomfortable pause settled in as our eye contact and body language reached Def Con 4 levels.

Customer service is constantly embraced and rolled out to the masses in large organizations. However it only takes one individual to destroy the distinct customer experience that an organization toils for. What can be done to ensure the complete cycle of an emotionally delighting customer experience is delivered?

Ken Ng
CEO/Senior Managing Consultant