Michael has the pleasure of knowing a board member for a nationwide retail chain. Michael thoroughly enjoys knowing this gentleman on a personal level and learning about his perspective on business.
Since Michael has been a customer of the business, one day he decided to ask the board member how the board feels about their company’s customer service. The board member’s response was “Oh! We’re doing great! We just passed our biggest competitor in the national ratings, and our metrics on the store customer service are generally trending up!”
Michael was somewhat astonished at the response, since this company has a reputation for horrible customer service. Since Michael hadn’t been to his local store in a few weeks, he thought that maybe they had improved.
So that weekend, Michael needed to buy a certain type of flower that his wife was requesting – a white wave petunia. Not wanting to make a 20 minute round trip without knowing they had that type of plant, Michael called the store first. After going through 5 menus on the phone system, Michael selected the right option (or so he had hoped) and was transferred to the nursery; he hung up after the phone rang for the 18th time with nobody answering.
He then hopped in his car to go there anyway as it was getting late in the day. When Michael entered the nursery area, he immediately walked up to the cashier and waited behind the only customer in line. Since that conversation was taking several minutes, Michael walked to the flower pots and began looking for the plant. There Michael saw every petunia known to man. . .except a white wave petunia.
So he went back to the cashier, and when the cashier was done helping the customer, Michael asked for help.
“I’m just a cashier,” responded the employee. “I don’t know what those are; why don’t you go ask an employee back in lumber?”
“Where?,” Michael responded.
“Back in the back quadrant over there; they’re over there,” the cashier replied.
Then Michael went to the ‘back quadrant,’ but there were no employees around.
Michael left without a white wave petunia, without a good feeling about the store, and with the definite suspicion that this board member had never shopped at his own stores.
Metrics can look good, but the experience can be bad.
Trust data to a point, but verify what the experience is like in reality. Experience your business like a customer would experience it.