Listening to the Unstated Need

Customer service is about transactions that fulfill a stated consumer need!  Customer experience delivery, however, is more than fulfilling a transactional need.  Loyalty-building experiences often involve caring for a customer by doing something unexpected.

I can think of no better example of the distinction between service and experience excellence than an example from Capital One.  Kalen Raynor called Capital One for service and began talking to Jocelyn a Capital One business banker.  The customer, Kalen, needed a replacement debit card.

During the telephone transaction arranging for the replacement card, Kalen’s daughter, Kaya, began crying about a charm falling off her Yankee charm bracelet.  Without missing a beat, Jocelyn engaged Kalen in a discussion about Kaya.  At that moment, Jocelyn and Kalen entered a human experience not just a card replacement transaction.

Jocelyn, took the personal connection one step-further.  Kalen received her replacement card promptly (solid service) accompanied by a personal note from Jocelyn with a charm bracelet kit for Kaya.

Kalen shared the story on her blog (free brand advocacy and promotion of Capitol One).  Kalen notes “this was the nicest gesture a stranger has done for me in a really long time. …You put a bright smile on my daughters face today.”

In my world, customer service is about satisfaction….customer experience is about advocacy and smiles!

Smoke over black background

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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