“Customer Experience is not just about

passion. It is about profitable results.”

~Lior Arussy

Don’t I know you? Customer Experience Strategy Revealed

Posted: Jul 07, 2016 by Dalya Arussy

I recently played in a pickup basketball game when I was exposed to an excellent customer strategy. An unusual place for such a revelation, right?

I came to the game not knowing the other participants but they needed an extra player, so I joined. We played for about 45 minutes and the whole time I kept thinking my teammate looked familiar, but I didn’t want to say anything.

Then I found an in. “I work at Mandarin Café,” he said when we took a break.

I knew it! He’s one of the always-smiling baristas at my local café. I don’t go there often, but I’m good with faces. Now I knew why he looked familiar.

I told him I thought I recognized him from there, to which he responded, “Oh I think you look kind of familiar, too.”

“It’s okay if I don’t… I don’t come very often.”

“No, I think I recognize you… but I feel bad because we really try to know our customers. We make it a point to do so.”

He looked genuinely disappointed. I didn’t mean to put him in an uncomfortable position, but I also didn’t know it would mean so much to him.
With that disappointment, he also unknowingly revealed an excellent customer experience strategy.

I was finally able to make sense of whole environment that I recalled experiencing in that café. Every time I walked in, the baristas were talking amongst themselves, engaging with the customers, singing, etc. They always smiled and always wished us a great day as they’d serve the order. And all this seemed truly genuine. No one forced them to repeat a script and no one ensured they smile. Even before this customer experience strategy revelation, I always felt that café was a happy place to be.

This, I understood, is what happens when employees are engaged and feel connected to their jobs. It may be something simple like providing your customer with a cup of coffee, but employees can always feel connected to their role if they understand it in a certain perspective. My teammate and barista wanted to know who I was because he truly believed his role influenced me. And it did.

Lior Arussy tells the story of the Mont Blanc fountain pen tester. She would be given every new fountain pen that the company produced and was charged with writing the letter “L” in script to ensure its elite performance. This tester didn’t view her job as a monotonous, repetitive activity of signing a single letter day in and day out. Instead, she viewed it as the initial step in finalizing a peace process. Any important document such as a treaty would surely be signed by a fountain pen. Her take was: how lucky am I that I may be the tester who enabled that final signing?

I didn’t ask the above mentioned barista specifically about his understanding of his role, but I’d imagine he would respond something like this: I create the daily drive for people, the stimulus that helps them function throughout the day. After all, what is coffee if not the spurt of energy that helps us make it through fatigue and weariness? 

Every employee can reach that point, and managers should encourage their employees to reach it. If the organization’s environment encourages this kind of thinking, the outcome can be truly great. Then you gain not only engaged employees, but also engaged customers. People want to be happy, and the best place to be happy is where other people are happy too.