“Contactless” or “touchless” experiences are the new normal in several industries today. Banking, retail, food service, hospitality, and health care organizations are all finding new ways to deliver superior customer experience in a remote, virtual world. Today’s reality has alienated customers from businesses, so as businesses reopen, it’s critical to be sensitive to the customer experience. The companies that do this right are the ones that use technology to enhance the customer experience, not replace it.
Customers today spend money with companies that provide:
- Quick, seamless, and personal experiences
- Limited face-to-face interactions
- Quality products that match the purchasing experience
I recently ordered from a national pizza chain restaurant that just opened a new location two minutes from my house – and right next door to two competing national pizza franchises. While this particular pizza chain nailed the online experience, the human interaction fell short – which cost them a loyal future customer.
Below is my experience (and tips) from the customer perspective.
6:14 p.m.: I use my phone to search the pizza chain’s website and see a coupon – I love coupons! I select the coupon and closest location and complete my online order. I order three pizzas. Two with pepperoni and one with anchovies. You read that correctly: anchovies. I paid online, taking full advantage of contactless payment. The process was quick, customizable, and easy to use.
6:17 p.m.: I receive my order confirmation and am notified that “Victoria” has started cooking my order (Woah – I wasn’t expecting that level of personalization. Thanks, Victoria!) and it will be ready for pickup at 6:26 p.m. Encouraged by the awesome online experience, I decide to sign up for the rewards program and download the mobile app while I wait to pick up my order.
While I get my keys and head to my car, the phone rings twice. I didn’t recognize the number and there were no messages or voicemails left, so I think nothing of it.
6:26 p.m.: I arrive at the pizza place, fully prepared to quickly grab my food and walk out the door to be back at home by 6:30 p.m. with dinner for my family. But this is where the experience goes downhill. I walk in to find out my order was canceled. What? How? Why?
The frontline employee managing the counter explains that they have no anchovies, and they tried to call me to notify me but instead canceled my order. There were plenty of other ways to troubleshoot this issue. Send a text? Leave a voicemail? Hold the one pizza until I arrived to pick up my order? I was hangry.
While I stand there at the front desk, employees start to point fingers at me and each other and scurry to retake my order at the counter with no remorse for the disconnect and forgetting my coupon. This face-to-face experience is nowhere near what I encountered with the online experience.
7:00 p.m.: I arrive home (having waited an additional 30 minutes) and receive a customer survey in my email that asks on a scale of 1 to 10, “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?”
Well, here it is:
- Online experience: 5 stars
- In-person experience: 1 star
- Product quality: 3 stars
- How likely are you to recommend us to a friend? 2 (not likely)
Remember, as you continue to perfect your contactless customer experience, think about how your people will help bring the digital experience to life.
- Are your frontline team members empowered to deliver authentic experiences while using technology?
- Do they have the skills and training to problem solve in the moment and deescalate an unfavorable experience?
- Does everyone in your organization have a clear picture of your business system and understand their role in the customer experience?
And if you ever find yourself in this situation – hold the anchovies, not the customer experience.