differentiated customer experienceSince October 1 is official Customer Experience Day, I thought I’d take a moment and share the best customer experience I’ve EVER had.  And I mean EVER.  For me, it’s that timeless “WOW” moment I’ll always remember.

My Customer Journey

To provide a bit of context, I recently adopted, and through a painful four-year process, we finally made it to trip one of two… to meet our baby girl in Ethiopia.

When we arrived, we stayed at a hotel that had a brand promise of “more than a place to stay.” Being in a third-world country, we went in with low expectations, and yes, our room had a broken shower, daily outages of electricity, and was just down the street from a building that woke us up every morning at 5 a.m. as loudspeakers blared…for 30 minutes.


It didn’t have a rewards program, heavenly bed, or a world-class brunch like the large chain hotel down the road, but it was clean, and the staff was exceptional so we still left feeling satisfied.

The Offer Like No Other

Fast forward six weeks.  I was at home on Sunday, and I got a random Facebook chat request from Beza, the receptionist from the hotel.  I accepted the request.  After all, Beza was so helpful during our stay. She even rocked our daughter to sleep while we ate dinner there after a very stressful day. In our chat, Beza asked if we’d heard any more about our baby (who had been sick), and as I shared my frustration in getting no information, she offered to personally go visit my baby in the orphanage across town.

Um, wow!

I was speechless.  She would actually do that?  So I told her that’d be amazing, but she’d need to arrange it through the agency office there.  I admit, I was TOTALLY thinking this would be one of those ‘someday, maybe’ kind of offers.

My Moment of WOW

Less than 12 hours later, I get another Facebook message from Beza with 16 pictures of my daughter – priceless gifts that help keep hope alive on this journey that is: Just. Too. Long.  In the pictures, my baby was smiling, had grown, looked healthy, and I knew that even if it was just for today, she’d been hugged.

And then it really hit me.

While we left the hotel satisfied, where we stayed really was “more than a place to stay”.  It wasn’t the rewards program, the bed, or the food.  It was the people there that made it so. And as I sit here unpacking this experience further, I’m finding that it holds within it a whole set of principles for providing a differentiating customer experience, regardless of the size of the company.

3 Principles for Differentiated Customer Experience

1.  Align “Moments of WOW” with your brand promise.  Every company has limited time, money, and resources, so no one can do everything exceptionally.  During our stay, the facilities were OK at best, but that wasn’t part of their brand or our expectations.  The service was.

Look to create a customer journey map and ensure that the high points map to your brand promise.  Genesys Business Consulting can help you with that.

2.  Add social media to your engagement strategy.  Connect with customers in a channel that’s both yours and their preference to make the conversation easier (and perhaps lower cost).  For Beza and me, the phone would have been expensive with spotty coverage, and email would have been too slow.  For this interaction, social media was a win-win.

Check here to begin planning your social engagement strategy.

3. Maximize the use of your employees’ skills. Understand the strengths of each employee to support the ideal customer journey – in and outside the contact center.  Beza’s role to greet families after a long journey was the perfect position for her, and with great compassion, she took it upon herself to follow-up even weeks after our stay was complete.

Visit here to learn six essentials to better optimize your workforce.

Yes, the best customer experience I’ve ever received is in a land where electricity is not an assumption, and internet service is a luxury.  Unpacking it, I find principles that can be applied in any company around the globe.

So that’s my story.  On the eve of Customer Experience day, I’d love to read about yours and the principles we can all learn from it. Contact us today! 

Janelle Matthews

Janelle Matthews

Janelle Matthews is the Senior Vice President of Solutions & Product Marketing with over 14 years of experience in customer experience solution strategy. She is certified in Customer Experience Management, formally trained in service design, and is a subject matter...