Every Touchpoint Impacts The Customer Journey

It’s not your products or prices that are going to keep customers coming back. It’s how well you manage your customers’ experiences with you. 

Don’t believe me? Picture this: You hear great things about a new restaurant from your friends and decide to check it out. You and your date are greeted by a warm and friendly hostess, you are seated at a comfortable table, the wait staff is fabulous, the meal is delicious, and just when you are satiated with dinner and contemplating dessert, the busser accidentally drops leftover food in your lap. When you cry out in surprise, she snaps, “It’s not my fault, you should have handed me that plate!”

How would you rate that experience? Even though the food was amazing, are you coming out of that restaurant with a favorable overall impression? Probably not. That last piece of attitude is going to filter your overall perception and sour your total experience.

The same is true for your customers when they interact with you. Disney, Spirit and Apple are just a few of the famous brands that have utilized the customer experience to truly differentiate themselves. But how might this apply in distribution?

The first step is recognizing that every employee on your team has the opportunity every single day to improve (or ruin) the day, week, year and attitude of every customer they come into contact with. Do you think order pickers do not come into contact with customers? How about the drivers? Accounts receivable, payables, the CFO? Yes, they all either directly or indirectly affect your total solution and your customer’s experience doing business with your company.

Training every team member to care about the customer’s day and the customer’s perception of your company is important. The caring is (hopefully) inherent in your sales and customer service teams, but when you can expand that culture to everyone, it truly can make an impact. Bear in mind that customers do not remember what we do for them, they remember how we make them feel. A smile, a warm greeting, a real desire to fix any issues with the least disruption to the customer’s schedule and business needs — these are some of the difference makers. 

Now, you may be thinking that there’s no way a driver being extra nice to the customer’s receiving person will have an impact on the bottom line. But you would be wrong. Each relationship is important and impactful. That receiving clerk could be the owner’s niece, could be a college kid in supply chain management who will be the next purchasing director, or could just be a human in need of a friendly face and a smile. There is no downside to standardizing a smile, a greeting, a first name, an inquiry of health, and a thank you.
Depending on your company culture, customer experience can go much further. It can be a random surprise gift, an intensely themed event, a signature scent in a showroom, and much more. The essence of customer experience is ensuring that it is not only easy to do business with your company, but it is a pleasurable and memorable journey.

Tina Serio Saunders, I.C.E., MBA, ACT is president of SonicTrain, LLC, creators of The Arena gamification platform, owner of xSell360 Consulting, and director of marketing and innovation at Nichols. She is an industry leader in marketing technologies and has led development on numerous sales tools. She has provided training, strategic management consulting, and marketing implementation around the country. Her insight comes from over 20 years industry management experience. You may contact her at 419-297-0822 or tina@sonictrain.com.