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Editorial

A Forgotten Customer Experience Art: Decency

4 minute read
Nichole Devolites avatar
How one gesture of kindness can shift the customer experience for many.

A little over one week into my three-week travels through Europe and the United Kingdom, I collected quite a few customer experience stories that have given me new perspectives on how it’s approached in other parts of the world, as well as how I’ve reacted to them.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of the more thought-provoking stories that I hope will give you some new perspectives as well.

When Customers Provide a Great Customer Experience

When some people hear the word “flying” they get a bit of anxiety — anxiety that they’ll be flagged for carrying some illegal “contraband’ they didn’t know they had packed; anxiety of whether their bags will make it to their destination; and the big one — anxiety of who they will be seated next to or in front of. All of that combined, or even if it’s just one of these, is enough to set the tone for the rest of your flying experience, and, in most cases, can certainly impact others around you during theirs.

One Person Changes Flight Customer Experience

When I boarded my flight from Phoenix to Washington, D.C. (the first of three legs to Europe), there was a young boy in the seat behind me that had special needs. He was intermittently kicking my seat and screaming, prompting his exasperated father to try to calm his son while simultaneously apologizing to those around him.

A few minutes into this a woman dressed in a business suit approached her seat next to them — the rest of us now holding our breath to see how she’d react. The father nervously looked up and immediately issued a large apology for his son, explaining his son’s condition. In one of the kindest voices I could have heard, she responded with, “I am a mother to two young boys, so I completely understand. If there’s anything I can do, I am happy to help.” It was in that moment that everyone around them relaxed, some others even offering to help as well. The father teared up at all of the kind gestures, citing it’s rare to meet that many kind people who even try to understand.

Throughout the four-and-a-half hours of our flight, the son continued to have outbursts though due to the kindness of the woman, no one was apprehensive. In fact, people were more understanding and empathetic than I have seen on a flight in a long time.

The moral of the story — it takes just one person to shift the anticipated experience for everyone else around them.

Related Article: Scenes From an Italian Restaurant: Great Customer Experience, Personalized Touch

Setting Positive Example Leads to Better Organic Customer Experience

We, as customers, have the power to create an extraordinarily impactful customer experience just by being kind to others, which, in turn, increases our own level of satisfaction. Had that woman not taken a kind approach to the father and his son, those around him would potentially have remained apprehensive, most likely becoming aggravated at the flight attendants for not reprimanding the father, which, in turn, may have scored the airline a lesser rating.

Learning Opportunities

Here are three lessons learned on organic customer experience that can be carried through virtually every organization:

Your Customer-Facing Employees Matter

We sometimes forget how important it is to treat people with kindness, simply because we don’t know what else is going on in their life. Hiring high empaths into customer-facing roles, such as support and customer success, will lead to significantly better outcomes for your organization by way of a higher NPS, increased ARR and deeper relationships.

Related Article: How Compassion Can Benefit Customer Experience

Treat Employees With Kindness; They're Your Biggest Advocates

When you make it a mission to set a positive example for your team and fellow colleagues, you also set the tone for the customer experience as well. Employees are a direct reflection of your organization, and, if they are happy, the customers are happy, and if the customers are happy, they stay. Happy employees also mean more connections that lead to more potential customers.

Brand Experience Impacts Future for Customers

Whether you’re chatting about work, are participating in your favorite hobby, or are engaging in any experience with a brand you are loyal to or otherwise, you have the ability to create a bandwagon effect. When a customer creates a negative experience, others begin to align the brand with that experience, potentially costing the business loyalists and revenue.

Reversely, a customer that creates a positive experience instantly validates a customer’s decision to be loyal to that same brand and/or creates new loyalists in the process. In other words, how you treat your customers as human beings can make or break your organization’s success — a powerful reminder we sometimes forget. 

About the author

Nichole Devolites

Nichole Devolites is an award-winning speaker, mentor and practitioner of customer experience and operations. Having been in the tech industry for over 20 years, Nichole has had the honor and privilege of working with some of the most notable tech leaders in the world to solve challenges in the areas of sales, marketing, customer experience & operations.

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