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My “Customer Experience” Experience – Part 1

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and The Redeemed
Throughout my daily adventures, both personal and professional, I encounter many of the nation’s leading brands. Some of these experiences are good and some are bad. Unfortunately, most of them are just moderate, while a very few are exceptional. These are my stories…

The Good
Elysian Hotel – Chicago
On a recent business trip to the Windy City, a colleague discovered the Elysian Hotel via one of the online travel sites. It was listed as a 5-Star hotel, but with a 3-Star price. Obviously, that was the beginning of the Good Experience, but it got better from there.

Once we arrived, the staff was exceptional with their warm greetings and smiles. It felt as if I was instantly transported to Disney’s Magic Kingdom – the #1 organization in the world when it comes to delivering on the customer experience. My great experience with the staff, was reinforced by both the room (featuring a sitting area with fireplace, a leather desk, an oversized bath and an two HD flat screens) and the cuisine (loved the lamb shank).

Recommendation: I’m not sure how long this special pricing will last, but the Elysian provides the best customer experience value of any hotel I’ve stayed in recent memory. This property is new, so I’ll “force” myself to stay again to ensure that this was not an anomaly.

The Bad
AT&T U-verse
When I moved into my new apartment a few months ago, I had a few options to choose from for my TV service – including AT&T U-verse. Having been a long time DirecTV and Charter customer, I really wanted to give U-verse a try. However my experience with trying to establish new service with AT&T’s product was awful.

Although many units within my building have the service, I was informed that I would have a 7-business day evaluation period to determine if the service was available to me, followed by the scheduling and installation process. The rep on the phone was not swayed by my shock at the delay, quoted me more company scripture and said she’d call me back in a week-and-a-half. After I let her know that I had no intentions of waiting that long, she assured me with: “It’ll be okay. You’ll find we are worth the wait. Is there anything else I can do for you today?”

What?!?
I went back to Charter, who had me installed the next day. Churn costs money. Unnecessary churn before I even become a customer costs even more.

Recommendation: AT&T should institute some sort of incentive, with an exceptional explanation regarding the value of waiting in order to keep a fish like me on the hook. But the better strategy is to speed up the service availability and installation process because in this situation, we both lost.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my latest “Customer Experience” experiences later this week.

The Ugly and The Redeemed are upcoming and feature my interactions with more top brands.

Author: Bram Hechtkopf

Bram leads the “marketing of Kobie Marketing.” He consults with current and prospective clients on new business opportunities, helping to develop customer retention and loyalty marketing strategies and solutions that drive increased retention and spend. Following in the footsteps of his father, Kobie’s founder, Bram is eager to continue Kobie’s vision of technology and data analytics as enablers of leading-edge marketing executions for world-class customer loyalty initiatives. Bram has consulted with a wide array of leading brands including AMC Entertainment, TGI Friday’s, BJ’s Restaurants, Verizon, Bank of America, RBC, Flagstar Bank, JPMC, Sagicor, Coca-Cola, Cox Enterprises, Ruby Tuesday, Hawaiian Airlines, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Prior to Kobie, Bram worked with the Human Capital Transaction Advisory Services practice for Ernst & Young, LLP, where he developed and presented analyses and recommendations on executive incentive and equity plan design and due diligence findings to senior management and the Board of Directors of Fortune 1000 clients. Prior to Ernst & Young, Bram worked with Towers Perrin in Manhattan as a consultant specializing in incentive plan design for executives and sales forces. Bram received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree with honors from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University with a concentration in Marketing and Information Technology.

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