I am indebted to James Hamill of Blueapple Dental in Northern Ireland who introduced me to the material of Design Innovation in Eire and their blog on design, branding and marketing.
The most important knowledge I have gained from them is that what they call a “customer touch point” is the moment of truth when you deliver an experience of: “disappointment or delight that produces a disproportionate effect” That is sheer poetry and takes the concept of Critical Non-Essentials (thank you Paddi and team) to a new level. Having read their blog post and PDF download on the subject, I have been heard, wandering around for the last 2 weeks, muttering “disproportionate disappointment” and “disproportionate delight” as customer service has or has not manifested itself. I’ve noticed that we all have a greater ability to create a list of disappointments than delights – probably because there is an 80/20 ratio on the former to the latter? It’s only Wednesday morning – and here are my disappointments so far this week: 1. The rudeness of petrol station staff in Cornwall and Devon on Monday morning; 2. The shower head in my hotel room that fell off when I turned on the tap – and hasn’t been repaired 48 hours later; 3. The waitress in the hotel restaurant who told me that she couldn’t supply me with a diet coke because she was not allowed to go to the bar when serving diners; 4. The Starbucks employee who told me that I couldn’t have a spoon to eat the yoghurt I had just purchased – because they had none; 5. Vista refusing to download anything at the moment – and my desire to crush Microsoft until it expires; 6. Two internet payments that were made into my personal HSBC account last week – which have not appeared yet, even though the funds have left the payers account; 7. Discovering that a member of my family has been making comments about me that are simply untrue and undeserved; 8. Hearing that many of our clients at the Aztec Hotel in Bristol this week have had lousy service. And the moments of disproportionate delight? 1. The other Starbucks employee who stopped what he was doing and washed a spoon for me; 2. The demanding client who took the time to thank me for his coaching yesterday; So there’s the 80/20 at work. It seems essential to me that we collectively should decide to operate a zero tolerance policy on disrespectful, abusive and disappointing performance and behaviour. And that we each seek to deliver those moments of disproportionate delight in our work and play. Sometimes, just a thank you will suffice – or a respectful request to give tough feedback – and every now and then, the odd cheer of support or box of chocolates can make a world of difference to someone’s day. Put a smile on someone’s face today – I dare you. The exercise for you and your team here is to deconstruct your patient journey or customer service experience and agree where the good and bad moments have been – and what you intend to change going forward.