Thursday, May 27, 2010

Extraordinary Customer Experiences

by Mark Severance

Last week, a group from Arxis attended the Sage Insights conference in Denver, CO. The conference was a great chance to re-connect with friends from Sage, other resellers, and third party ISVs. And the weather was absolutely beautiful!

One of the recurring themes of the event was creating "Extraordinary Customer Experiences." Concepts such as asking good questions, listening, going the extra mile, caring, doing the little things, meeting needs, providing expertise, etc. were discussed as an essential component of the service that Sage and Arxis Technology provide to our clients.

Creating a succint definition of "extraordinary customer experience" (ECE) is difficult, but it's one of "know it when you experience it" type of things.  I've been fortunate to be on the receiving end of two such experiences recently.

ECE #1 - Anaheim Hilton

My family and I took a trip to Disneyland for my son's 5th birthday. To maximize our day, we decided to spend the night at a local hotel the night before. Through Priceline, we got a great rate on a room at the Anaheim Hilton. Arriving just after dinnertime, we were helped through the registration proces by Ana, one of the front desk attendants. As she worked, she noticed the kids and asked if we would like a room with a Disney-view. This normally costs more, but she'd wave the fee for us. We said, "Yes, please!" Then she asked the kids if they would like some cookies and milk delivered to our room. (If only all decisions were this easy.) Again, "Yes, please!!"

About twenty minutes later, after we were settled in our room, the room service guy rolls the cart into our room with a dozen, large assorted (and super delicious) cookies, an abundance of milk on ice, and a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries. Needless to say, we were blown away by the sight of the goodies and even more so after we enjoyed eating them.

I'm telling you - we could have skipped Disneyland and it would have been a successful vacation! The picture at right is Ana and three very grateful kids! Thanks, Ana, and the Anaheim Hilton for an extraordinary customer experience! :-)

ECE #2 - Denver Convention Center

While in Denver, I enjoyed an early morning run along Cherry Creek. At breakfast, I was quite thirsty, but could only get juice or coffee. I approached one of the staff at the front of the buffet line and asked for a bottle of water. She directed me to the supervisor (whose name I failed to get) for help. The supervisor very politely told me to ask one of the wait staff in the breakfast room and they would help me. This was fine. After filling my plate, I approached the entrance to the breakfast room. The supervisor met me there to tell me that I didn't have to ask anyone as she already she pointed me out to the wait staff, who would watch where I sat down and bring me a bottle of water. Sure enough, I sat down and the friendly waiter brought me my own bottle of Aquafina.

I would have been fine asking the wait staff for my own bottle. I would have been appreciative that they brought me an off-menu item! But the extra effort by the supervisor turned an ordinary customer service experience into something extraordinary.

I'm inspired by my friends in Anaheim and Denver. And I want to do all I can to help Arxis Technology deliver extraordinary customer experiences.

What about you? What are your ECE stories? I'd love to hear!

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