We concede it: you do not need to tell all your friends what Customer Experience is. However, we wrote this post because lots of people ask around us, including many in the process of launching a business online [Ed. Note: it usually comes when we tell we are building an analytics software for User Experience]. Our idea with this article is to make Customer Experience more comprehensible to everyone working on his own business (online or offline), by transposing situations people may experience in their everyday life, to the online world. Another idea behind this article is that dealing with customers is eventually not that different online -on your website, through your social media- than offline -in your restaurant, your shop..-, and that both part could, and should, take inspiration from the other part.

Let’s talk about Experiences

And jump immediately to memory, because experiences and memory are closely related. Do you remember any restaurant name that you have visited only once, more than a month ago? If you quickly answer yes to this question, ask yourself again: what happened in this restaurant that was so great or so bad that you still remember it today?

 Emotionally charged events are remembered better – The role of emotion in memory by Pr. McPherson

It is a fact that the human brain is more likely to remember good experiences and bad experiences than neutral ones. More questions if you are not convinced yet:

  • isn’t your earliest memory a good moment?
  • don’t you remember any nightmare from your childhood?

Experiences at the restaurant are a great way to explain what is Customer Experience (CX). Restaurants and bars are businesses that talk to everybody. We all have been to restaurants, have our own criteria to evaluate any place we visit, and we all have a favorite one.

These experiences may be yours

So I recently came into an outstanding experience, and a terrible one, while getting out with company. Here is what happened :

At this restaurant with my wife, 3 SMALL THINGS they did very fine: At this bar with my best friend, 3 SMALL THINGS they did very wrong:
1. Faultless service From the beginning to the very end, the waiter has been attentive, helpful, polite, and he knew his stuff. Our dishes were looking great and were surprisingly very tasty. The standing of this place turned out to be way above what we expected from the outside. 1. Delivery In front of the bar, there were tables with customers, and a desperate angry crowd everywhere around waiting to carry away their drinks. The more I got in the crowd and the more people were annoyed, starting sneaking out and waving arms with money in hands trying to get attention from the staff. War zone.
2. Attention to details For example, when the waiter pays attention, even in the middle of a rush, to turn the menu in the right direction so you can just start looking for the meal you would have, instead of dropping the menu on the table – it should be a basic, but as it is not that common (right?), some small things are still appreciated. (Plus, I am easy to impress) 2. Teamwork The staff were numerous, but it was hot outside, people wanted cocktails, and there was just no proper organization for that. So I was desperately looking at four guys taking hours to make 2 mojitos for each new order. Come on, I just want a fresh beer from the fridge!
3. Surprisingly efficient This waiter brought new cutlery in the minute when something went to fall from the table in a jangle. Big deal or not? as he was 30 feets away and busy at this moment, I still can not understand how fast he processed that. Ubiquity? Well, he just managed to impress me. 3. Decency I keep it easy with this example, but for several other reasons, this place was very bad. This barman could just have saved everything by apologizing when my turn came – but well, he did not: because half an hour standing in an aggressive crowd for a drink sounds acceptable in this place.
The outcome: I was not expecting a lot from this restaurant,   but they managed to make from this dinner they best I had for quite a long time. The outcome: Although I was expecting nothing from this bar, they managed to disappoint me.

What does my experience mean for these places?

My experiences in these places went in opposite directions, from the very good to the very bad. This is a big deal for however manages relationship with customers. Here is what I could tell to the owners after these experiences: 

At this restaurant: At this bar:
Am I happy to give you my money?
Yes, plus a decent tip. No.
Am I likely to consume more at your place?
Yes, I went for the 3-course menu which usually never occurs. No.
Am I likely to recommend your place?
Absolutely. First thing I will do if some of my friends get around. No, any recommendation from me would me not to visit your place.
Am I likely to visit again?
 I will definitely visit again next time I am in the place. Never.

What does Experience mean for every business owner?

In a very short and clear statement:

Good experience brings more money, loyal customers and recommendations.

Success in owning restaurants and bars does not only come from the location, the menu and the price list. What owners must achieve is to build a cool place that people will love. This assumption turns out to be true for every business. Here is why:

It is not about me .. but everyone

I am just a lambda visitor, like hundreds of others. Maybe it was a lucky or bad day for these places. 1 out of 100, is not a big deal for this bar. But why would I feel different from the 99 other people in this endless line ? 

Success in business is about building a loyal customer base. This implies continuous efforts at every level to get the most out of your visitors (customers, hosts, users..) happy with what they get at your place.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a key indicator for Customer Happiness and great to determine if you reach this target with most of your customers. It is suitable for online and offline businesses.

It is about Expectations and Delivery

Every user, visitor, customer, host .. will have a certain level of expectations towards your service. It differs a lot from one person to another, one character to another, one context to another. You can not guess how much they expect from you, and you will not give satisfaction to everyone.

But your mission, as an ambitious business owner, is always to try anyway to deliver more than they expect.

It is about building great memories

Experience is rarely neutral. It is more likely to be positive or negative, because everyone evaluates each situation according to his own criteria, by counting pluses and minuses. It is also how our brain will store these memories: by classifying.

Building positive memories is the goal behind your effort to deliver a positive experience through your service. Emotion is stronger than everything to build appreciation for your brand, and a real loyal customer base.

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