27 May Consistent Service Beats Wow Moments

consistency-beats-wowOn a recent trip to a conference in Las Vegas, I noticed that my hotel had a policy of recognizing when its employees created “wow moments.” The owner of the hotel actually gave a keynote speech at the event and told a story about an employee who had driven eight hours during the night to get the medication that a guest had forgotten at home and absolutely needed in the morning. That certainly is an incredible story of employee engagement.

At breakfast during my first day at that hotel, I accidentally spilled a smoothie on my suit. When I returned to my room that evening, I found out that they would not clean my suit because it was wet. No kidding, it was wet! Then when I checked out the next day I had to wait in line for 20 minutes, and the bill contained three separate charges for internet and resort fees, all of which were charged in error. The charges were quickly removed but I was not impressed.

The wow story about the medication had captivated me but it alone did not increase my loyalty to the hotel. All it did was set my expectations very high and when my own personal experience did not reach that level, it made it all that much worse.

Frictionless beat wow

The way to win customer loyalty is not through occasional “wow” moments, but instead through consistent quality of service that makes the customer’s experience frictionless and pleasant.

Frictionless, as the term implies, means there is no effort or stress involved in a transaction. A great example would be an automatic checkout, in which a hotel guest simply leaves, without having to stand in line to check out. Although almost any hotel can already do this with your credit card, the thing that makes it truly frictionless is the knowledge in advance that the bill will be accurate.

At Qualifirst, we often go out of our way for our customers. A team member will go out on a weekend or evening to make a rush delivery or deliver a product for a special event. These efforts are certainly appreciated by the customer, but if we don’t come through in the little things as well, in the day-to-day service, then we could easily lose that same customer three weeks later.

How a 1% error becomes a 100% error

When a box gets lost and a chef does not get a product for a special event it’s not a $50 mistake. It’s a $10,000 mistake, because we could very well lose that customer forever. For me those are the worst moments, when I know we have let someone down and we can do absolutely nothing about it.

When our courier company loses one box out of 100, this does not represent 1% failure, it’s 100% failure, because over time this error will affect all of our customers and we will no longer have customers in that area. Consequently, working on frictionless delivery at a cost that keeps us competitive is one of the major challenges Qualifirst has to overcome.

Most companies celebrate the wow moments, but they forget that a pattern of consistent and error-free results actually creates success. This can only be achieved when everyone – including senior management – contributes consistently.

I would like to recognize our Vancouver and Toronto warehouse teams in particular, for providing that consistent, day-in and day-out, mistake-free service, because that is really what wows customers. Consistent quality is one of our major engines of growth.

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