• Ilkka Huotelin

Little Experience Destroyers and How to Spot Them



Sometimes, things that might seem small and insignificant are the ones that destroy the customer experience. They may not be critical on their own, but in a larger context of what the customer has already experienced these small things can be the final straw that breaks the relationship.

For me, it was having to pay a fee for an Ethernet cable of wrong colour. I was more or less neutral towards my Swiss broadband and mobile service provider until this episode. The provider was not the best and had their issues, such as sending emails in wrong language, never getting direct debit working and so on, but their price/quality ratio was unbeatable, so I had put up with them for many years.

That was until I had to return my broadband modem as I moved to a new flat where I did not any more need it.

I got an email (in a different language than what I had given in my profile) instructing me how I should return the equipment to one of the provider’s stores and detailing the fees I have to pay, if something is missing. The fees seemed to be rather high, but I thought that it was for ensuring proper recycling. What seemed really odd was to charge a fee for missing packaging that I had thrown away years’ ago, but I reluctantly accepted it. On I went to the provider’s store in central Geneva with a bag full of various cables, including an Ethernet one. The sales rep took the bag and made an inventory of the returned goods. Everything was fine except the missing box and to my great surprise the Ethernet cable of certain colour.

The shop assistant insisted that the cable must be white and mine was yellow. Of course, I would have had at home white Ethernet cables as well as many other colours, but as the list emailed to me did not specify the colour, I had picked up this one. The rep could not explain the significance of the colour and charged me 10 Francs (about 9 EUR). The sum was not the issue as such, but the illogicality of the requirement. This brought to my mind all the previous issues I had with the provider in question. The same day, I asked the provider to transfer my mobile subscriptions to a competitor (but as I had 18 months left on my contract, I did not go through it yet as the penalty would have been too high).

What could the service provider have done differently:

1. Train customer facing personnel to be able to explain the policies

2. Empower customer facing personnel to use common sense

3. Test the processes and get feedback from an external test group and/or CX expert

4. Monitor customer feedback and log files

5. Asses how customer journey is supporting the provider’s business goals and adjust where needed

Often the problem in companies is that individual processes and touchpoints are designed in silos and seen in isolation, whereas customers form their view across all the interactions. Companies tend to struggle to identify what really drives customer (dis-)satisfaction and which KPIs are the most important ones to monitor.


At Be Customer Smart, we have developed an AI Optimised CX Management solution to solve this problem. Taking as inputs customer feedback, transactions and the operational data, our solution can tell how much each touchpoint is impacting the customer satisfaction (NPS…) and the revenue and what would be an ideal target value for each KPI. Had this company used our solution they would have seen automatically how much for instance the requirement of the right colour cable is bringing down their NPS and increasing the churn and how my experience had gone up and down over time. The solution also warns which customers (me in this case) are at risk, because of the level of service they have received, so they can be contacted in time.

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