A Digital Experience Agency

Put on a Happy Face

In case common sense wasn’t enough, by now it’s no secret that positive customer experiences are good for a business and negative customer experiences are not. And more and more businesses are (finally) catching on. According to Forrester, one-third of firms will restructure their business to shift to customer-obsessed operations in 2017. Power to the people.

And while customers are more likely to share a bad experience than they are a good experience; today I’d like to buck the trend and give a shout out to the restaurants and shops who put a smile on my face. Because although I am certainly capable of sending out an angry tweet directed to my least favorite pharmacy,  I also have a lot of love for brands that deserve some time and attention, too:

  1. Whenever picking up a to-go order, Zoës Kitchen usually offers me a free drink while I wait. It probably costs them very little, but it’s something I look forward to any time I swing by for a quick lunch.
  2. I have a weakness for falafel and apparently I’m not alone. On a number of occasions when eating at Mama Pita they haven’t had fresh falafel ready when it’s my time to order. In those instances, I’ve almost always received a free drink, a buy-one-get-one card, or extra falafel. And the delicious falafel is always ready within a few minutes.
  3. Amazon is known for customer experience so it takes a lot for them to impress me, I basically just expect it at this point. But when we didn’t receive the full refund for a package containing multiple dresses that was returned, we had to call them up to investigate. What happened is a mystery – so their solution was to refund the whole original order, even the dress I kept.

These are all examples of situations where I was experiencing varying degrees of friction and the company provided a small token to improve the overall experience. And for me, it works. I am not complaining Amazon lost my return package, I’m stoked I got a free dress!

But the best is when companies do it just because:

  1. I asked the cashier at Whole Earth Provision Co.  how large of a purchase had to be made in order to get one of their sweet reusable bags because I had recently spilled milk in mine, and he was placing my small purchase into a standard brown bag. He happily moved my purchase into a reusable bag and threw in a few extra bags, just because.
  2. Awhile back I decided my 9 month old and I should go on a dinner date to J. Macklin’s Grill, without any other adult help. Easier said than done. It took an extra trip back to the car just to haul in all the stuff that was required, and as I was unloading everything a kind server came by and helped set up the high chair cover.
  3. On another occasion dining out with baby at East Hampton Sandwich Co. , I asked if I could purchase grilled chicken only from the salad add-on options for my son (because I wasn’t forking over $5 for a full kids meal and I wasn’t in the mood to share). I assumed the answer would be “no” but instead they gave me a perfectly sized tiny portion of grilled chicken – free of charge.

At the end of the day, does it really matter? Turns out, it does.  Because according to Forrester Research, customer experience improvements can translate into revenue growth for companies, and CX leaders grow revenue faster than CX laggards1. So all those companies shifting to a customer-obsessed operation this year are on to something.

What companies help you put on a happy face? Let us know in the comments below.

1. July 15, 2015, “Does Customer Experience Really Drive Business Success?” Forrester report.