Put a Bullet in it – Customer Service is Dead. But rising from the ashes. . .

Customer Service is the minimum ante to get into the game.  It used to be what you strived for.  Not anymore.  Unless you are moving past Customer Experience - where do you fit?customer service to Customer WOW and creating Customer Experiences you are behind.  This is a world where the customer is enveloped in a stage play like production that involves the product, service or shopping event.   Customer Service was getting the patron to their seat in the theater. . .but the customer experience started with the raising of the curtain. 

 For example, Customer Service was what you got when you went to Kings Point or Cedar Point to spend the day at the amusement park.  But customer WOW is what you get at Disney where you are a “guest” and you are not “on the ride” but you are “in” the ride.   Which is like saying . . .do you want to ride on a roller coaster?   Or do you want to ride THROUGH Pirates of the Caribbean?   In fact, when a Disney “cast member” (not employee) leaves the preparation area where they eat and change clothes . . . they go into the park where the guests are . . .they are “on stage”. 

  • JC Penney – Customer Service . . . OR  . . .Nordstrom – Customer Wow
  • Barnes & Noble – Customer Service . . .OR . . .Metropolitan Museum of Art Gift Shop – Customer Wow
  • Wal-Mart toy department – Customer Service . . . OR . . .  American Girl store – Customer Wow
  •  Goodwill – Customer Service  . . . OR . . .Plato’s Closet – Customer Wow

 When you leave Cincinnati and travel out to the suburbs traveling north you come to Jungle Jim’s.  This produce market turned grocery store boasts one acre of produce, a 60 foot yacht in the fresh fish department, 14,000 types of cheeses, a full sized fire truck over the two isles of various types of hot sauces.  Every grocery store needs its very own monorail circling the store.  And to move the customer to a WOW event, you can even pay a fee to get a guided tour of the store.   

The commodities economy (1905) gave way to the packaged goods and manufacturing economy (1955) which gave way to the service economy (1995) and the emerging economy today is the experience economy . . . which is what the customer is starting to demand.  Customer Service then is just taken for granted. . . .customer WOW . . . WOW.  

 Commodity Economy

  1.                 Cake from scratch
  2.                 Ice Cream
  3.                 Coffee Beans

 Manufacturing & Packaged Goods Economy

  1.                 Cake in a Box (thanks Betty Crocker)
  2.                 Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry
  3.                 Folgers

 Service Based Economy

  1.                 Giant Eagle Birthday Cake
  2.                 Baskin & Robbins 31 Flavors
  3.                 Starbucks

 Experience Economy

  1.                 Chuck E Cheese (and the cake is free)
  2.                 Cold Stone Creamery
  3.                 Sidewalk café in Paris

 Even the Ritz Carlton, which used to pride itself on over-the-top Customer Service by teaching their employees to use “sir” and “ma’am” when addressing guests and “treating each other like ladies and gentlemen” has upped the ante.  Their new guidelines for customer service are focused on building relationships. 

 See http://www.kordellnorton.com/ritz_carlton_service_values.htm

 When there were 280 million people in the United States and their companies competing for the customers dollar, you could get away with striving for Customer Service.  But with the flat world of today and six billion people competing for those dollars you had better move beyond customer service and start thinking about the Experience.


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