Earlier this summer, my wife and I traveled over a thousand miles to get to the St. Lawrence River that separates the U.S. from Canada in upstate New York. We paid big bucks to hire the very best fishing guide in the Alexandria Bay area—Aziel Snyder. If was a perfect day—overcast with a light breeze. We went out early on his perfectly restored 1956 Chris-Craft fishing boat. And we caught smallmouth bass, as you can see in the photo. The big surprise! We did not use fancy colorful lures. Instead, we used worms for fish bait, like kids with a cane pole on a small pond.
It is an excellent metaphor for customer experience. We can dress up the experience with all manner of service decoration—the latest whatever, the most well-thought-out procedures, and an abundance of high tech. What catches customers’ attention today is an experience laced with simple authenticity, integrity, and old-fashioned, neighborly manners. Here is the difference.
It always frustrates me when a fast-food drive-in window attendant directs me to pull my car over to the curb and “we’ll bring it out to you.” I know what is really going on. They are worried about the wait time in their drive-in. While it gives them deceptive metrics (the reality would be if I just stayed put and let their wait time clock keep running), most fast-food employees are not judged by the number of happy customers but by efficient operations.
Last week I was at the local McDonald’s. A part of my order included their award-winning French fries. The drive-in window attendant said, “I am so sorry, sir. The person two customers ago asked for thirty orders of hamburgers and French fries, and we are playing catch up. Would you mind waiting a few minutes until we can cook your fries and bring them out to you?” It was like a breath of fresh air. No BS, no fake deception…just simple “worms!” Want to find a way to attract loyal customers? Skip the fancy footwork and be completely honest.