When conducting focus groups for a local government client recently, I found myself in many discussions with the customers of this municipality about their experience. The customers are business people, looking to perform renovations, develop property, and build facilities throughout the community.
And while many times we can define the customer experience by using words like attitude, responsiveness, respect, speed, and quality, these customers often used a different word – predictability.
To them, knowing what’s going to happen and when, knowing what’s their role v. that of the local government was vital to their success. By having a predictable process, a predictable set of roles and rules, a somewhat predictable timeframe, and a predictable manner in getting issues addressed, they could have more realistic expectations, but there were also two other benefits.
First, predictability for the customer enables them to plan next steps and timeframes. Second, predictability enables the customer to communicate with their stakeholders about what those stakeholders need to do and by when.
Going outside government, think of the hospital with outpatient surgery patients who need to know how to prep for procedures and how long they’ll take, so that they can have the friend pickup them up at the right time and help them get started on the care process at home.
Consider the sports fan going to the game and needing to know where to pick up the tickets and how long that process will take, so they can meet up with friends at a certain location and time.
Think about the elementary school parent considering moving into town but wanting to rent the apartment in the location where the best schools are zoned. They need to know what those schools are, where to move to get zoned there, how to register their child, and when they’ll get confirmation that the child gets into the desired school.
When you think about delivering the great customer experience, first think about how to make the experience predictable for the customer.
Help your customers predict next steps – give them the customer service Crystal Ball.