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Complacency in customer experience

What’s the customer experience of buying your service or product like?

Today, I stopped by the market to pick up some things, and decided to get a sandwich from the deli counter. The counter had a line of people waiting, so I decided to do my shopping first. After I checked out, the coast was clear, so I walked over to the deli and one of the employees asked me what I’d like.

“Hi! Salami and Swiss on sourdough, please.”

The deli guy hunted around in the cold case and came up short. “I’ll have to slice some salami” he said. Ordinarily fine, but look on his face said “do you really want me to go to that effort?”

Things were not starting off well.

I told him pastrami was fine, and we moved on. Except they were out of Swiss.

“I’ll have to slice that separately too.”

“Forget the Swiss,” I said. “Just put on whatever you’ve got.”

He got to the point of asking me what vegetables I wanted, and I looked around. What I saw wasn’t good.

The bell peppers, onions, and cucumbers were dried out and not appealing. The pesto that should have been bight green was a sort of black green (as happens when exposed to air too long). You could almost see through the tomatoes they were so colorless. At least they had black pepper, and there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with that. That I could tell.

I skipped all that and was mildly amused by the above-average price they charged me, considering my customer experience. And I reminded myself why I don’t order sandwiches there anymore.

So let’s sum up the pros and cons of getting a sandwhich at this market.


  1. Convenient (the biggest benefit)

  2. Relatively fast when there is not a line.


  1. Inconsistent quality in sandwich ingredients (and terrible today)

  2. Cold case not kept stocked with common options

  3. Deli staff person unenthusiastic and attempting to avoid additional (really?) work

  4. Pricing was high compared to value received

The power of convenience

This is a great example of how powerful convenience is. People will most often take the simplest option. Customers are willing to overlook many negative factors for the convenience factor. Are the customers delighted by their experience? No. Are they even satisfied? I can only speak for myself, but for me, it’s a no too.

Is this the type of experience you want your customers to have?

The manager at this market is dropping the ball. Quality control is terrible. Employee training on how to interact with customers is not good. Is the manager only looking at the revenue from the deli counter? If sandwiches are selling, it would take extra effort to look deeper into the customer experience. So it’s not most people’s first choice.

But how many sales are they missing due to unhappy customers? Who knows? They certainly don’t.

Walk in the shoes of your customer

The moral of this story is that you must, on a regular basis, experience your own customer experience.

Walk the purchase path that your customer walks. What do they see, hear, feel, taste, touch, and most importantly, remember? Are all of the factors of the buying experience at the level of quality you would want if you were the customer?

Don’t fall into the trap of saying “well, things are selling, so everything must be going well.” Prove it. Secret shop your own stuff, or have someone else do it. Ask your employees to do the same. Don’t assume for one minute that your experience is as polished as it could be.

Because I guarantee you, you have customers who are raising their eyebrows at parts of your service offering. If you want them to come back, you must find those friction points and eliminate them. It is the single best thing you can do to create love for your products, your services, and ultimately, your brand.


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I'm Ron Evans. I dramatically improve individual and organizational performance. If you found today's topic intriguing and want to apply it to your situation, I'll brainstorm with you. The few who follow through and take me up on my offer will benefit greatly. Strike while the iron is hot! 


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