Deliver World-Class Service: Lessons from the Mouse [Q&A with Dennis Snow]

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Myron: How might the focus on things speaking well or not speaking well affect customer service engagements?

Snow: Well, it's the attention to detail that people think about [along] the journey that your customers are going through. The products that we're selling, the services that we're selling, they're all commodities now. People just have so many choices for everything that any of us produce. So what I find the world-class organizations are thinking about is the customer journey. From the initial point of contact all the way through…actually from the beginning of even thinking about the need for your services or your product all the way through that journey, they're thinking about, How can we enhance that brand?

At Disney it's from the moment you start planning your vacation to parking your car to checking into the hotel to buying your tickets—everything is part of the experience before you even set foot on a ride. When you look at the companies that are held up as icons, they’re all selling pretty much the same stuff. Some might say that Disney is selling rides. But rides are commodities. You can get rides anywhere. What they're really selling is the experience. And that's what the Nordstroms of the world do, all the iconic organizations that we read about, they're focused on all the experiences throughout the customer journey.

So that's really where the opportunity lies, again in the design part of the experience but also in the execution part of the experience. So when we look at the IVR folks that will be at your conference, it's thinking about the journey that people go through and is it enhancing the experience or is it detracting from the experience or is it just mediocre?

Myron: If it's mediocre, how do you determine whether something deserves additional investment or attention? If a customer's expectations of an IVR are pretty low and you're delivering on those low expectations, should you then invest to raise the expectations, improve the experience, or invest your money elsewhere?

Snow: You have to be smart about it and understand what your constraints are and your budgeting issues. Every company has those. But, [if the] IVR does not have a good reputation, that seems like a logical opportunity for saying, How can we make ours different? So at least the customer says, OK, yeah, they get this. This is well done. Something that would create that moment of wow, where the customer says, That’s different than the typical phone tree I have to go through.

Myron: If these things are not tended to, how will that affect businesses in the coming years?

Snow: Well, what will happen is…and I get pushback sometimes [where people] say, "If our IVR is ineffective," or whatever it may be—"If the parking experience at Disney World is not good, will that mean people won't come back?" And I always say, "No, it probably doesn't mean that, but that's not a good business strategy." Because when somebody else then can duplicate your product, plus they have a good parking operation or a good IVR, they're going to take business away from you. So we need to stay ahead of the game. We always need to be thinking about the overall experience. While it might not [be that] people will leave because of this. What you want people saying is [this]: Oh, I'm staying, because they've got this whole thing figured out from start to finish.

Myron: So, what will your keynote presentation focus on at CRM Evolution, Customer Service Experience, and SpeechTEK?

Snow: There are three real things that I focus on: In every step of our business, we need to look at the experience through the lens of the customer. We tend to look at our processes through our own internal lens, and we need to turn that around and see each step of the experience through the lens of the person who's experiencing it. How do we make each step of the experience something that is a positive and enhances our brand? The second thing I'll talk about, and we talked about this earlier, is that idea everything speaks. You have to be thinking about the physical and attitudinal elements and that every detail is either enhancing the brand or detracting from it. The third thing is how do you create little moments of wow for the customer throughout the experience? And how do you build that into the way we do things, whether it's in the design phase, the delivery phase, and so forth. So I'll take them through some examples of how you create those little moments of wow, because those little moments of wow add up to something special.

For more insight, register for the CRM EvolutionCustomer Service Experience, or SpeechTEK conference, where you can see Dennis Snow's complete keynote presentation. For the complete experience, register for an All Access pass, enabling you to attend all three events and any session across 8 tracks.

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