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A few weeks ago some friends and I went to what was deemed to be the best pizzeria in Berlin. It was a very well located kind of Italian corner, full of families and even some Berliner celebrities. We asked for the regular offering and a couple of beers. The thin crunchy stone oven cooked dough and the softness of the tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese were remarkable! But the staff attitude and their manners in their service were absolutely miserable. Almost making us feel that they were doing us a favour for just allowing us to eat there.

by
DIEGO MALDONADO ROSAS
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A few weeks ago some friends and I went to what was deemed to be the best pizzeria in Berlin. It was a very well located kind of Italian corner, full of families and even some Berliner celebrities. We asked for the regular offering and a couple of beers.  The thin crunchy stone oven cooked dough and the softness of the tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese were remarkable! But the staff attitude and their manners in their service were absolutely miserable. Almost making us feel that they were doing us a favour for just allowing us to eat there.

I still think that their pizza was of a good quality, however I will not remember that place for its crunchy round products but for the unnecessary awful way they made us feel. Naturally we decided never to return there and we made sure other friends would follow such a path.

Buying services, as a naturally human activity is also subject to emotions. Besides what classic economist might say about the rational hommo economicus, emotions play a significant role in defining purchasing decisions.

We might forget the characteristics and prices of certain services, but we will never forget the way we felt when we purchased them. Like the sense of freedom of driving a rented car over an island in the holidays. The sense of being taken care off when leaving your hair and a definition of your first impressions in the hands of a dedicated barber are deeply fixed in your mind more than the services itself.

From the business point of view, instead of concentrating in the features a service contains, we should concentrate in designing and providing a good experience for the client.

Providing a top set of positive sensations is perhaps not the fastest, but definitely the most solid path to have clients returning and then evangelizing your value proposition. 

Examples of companies who have brought their clients experience to another level are a good reflection of that; The payments company Stripe brought their attention of the client to such extent that, during their first year of operations, they had programmed an automatic email to the CEO every time there was a client suffering from a bug in the software. Airbnb leveraged the client experience to such extent that they managed to change the long-time fear of sharing your home and private space with strangers, which is at the end the core of their business model. Other companies like Zappos have dedicated teams whose main responsibility is to arrange any means possible within the company to solve in real time the hot problems and questions that affect their clients, and at the same time making sure clients feel their voices heard in the company.

On the other hands, services commonly recognized for their bad customer experience, such as telecommunications, cable internet or public utilities, can only afford that lack of care to the customer since their existence is sustained by monopoly-like powers provided by either government grants or expensive unaffordable infrastructure which act as entry barriers for newcomers in the market.

Leveraging a good client experience as a key value proposition might not bring short term results. It is hard because in order to be successful it requires the whole organization to adopt a culture of serviceability over a culture of department goals.  It takes time because it is based on the customer’s interpretation of the value provided and it is also fragile because it requires constant attention and dedication.

We can say that in a time in which, just like a classical Neapolitan pizza, services pretty much look all the same, the client’s experience really can make a difference. You can find pizza restaurants almost everywhere, but still only a few places are worth returning to.

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