The good, the bad and the ugly

When I hear the title of this movie, what comes to my mind, is Clint Eastwood on a horse and the great title song with the whistle in it. A real spaghetti western which was taped long before I was even born. But I love the movie, the plot and of course the title. It is the silly season in the Netherlands. Summer holidays, and there is not much news going on, and the good thing is that many people enjoy some well-deserved time off. To recharge, to enjoy quality time with their family and to enjoy themselves basically. I hope you too or maybe you have already returned back to the office. This holiday I decided to rethink my customer experiences in the past. When looking back, what are the THREE customer experiences that I really remember, that stand out? Whether they were good, bad or ugly.

We have so many customer experiences. Actually, we have them every day. Same goes for me. Working on my laptop, browsing the web, doing groceries, having lunch at a restaurant, calling my provider, booking a ticket, I could go on and on and on. But what are the ones that really stand out, positive or negative?! In this blog my summary of the top 3 Good, Bad and Ugly since the moment I became an entrepreneur (January first, 2015) and the emotions that go with it. And I must be honest, I am not the one that is too fond on sharing the bad and ugly ones, because of the great impact I might have with my exposure. But let’s be honest, it is my duty as a customer experience pro and speaker to tell it as it is. So here they are.

The Good

Still my very best customer experience is my flight to Adelaide with Emirates. Of course, I relive it a lot, because I share the magic in my keynote ‘Great customer experiences don’t happen by accident’. But everything about it was perfect. I loved the digital information on the website, the ease of booking, the pre-flight information, the picking up by a limo to bring me to the airport, the stop over and the lounge in Dubai, the upgrade to first class, the service on the plane, the photo they made with a polaroid, the coming home, the survey I filled out and… the way they reacted on the survey. They reacted on the survey. Yes, that is what I am writing. One of the few companies that reacted on a survey I filled out. What a brilliant Customer Experience. I still remember the names of two flight attendants. Miriam and Gigi. That is what happens when customer experiences are great. I loved everything about this experience, it inspired me and it sparked joy. A lot of joy. If you want to read more, see some pictures, read my blog I wrote on it.

The Bad

This was a difficult one to pick, because I had so many bad experiences. But for the worst of them all, we have to go back three years, when I ordered a book through Amazon. That was not the issue, but the issue was that I needed it fast. So, I chose for express delivery and I would receive it in two days. I received a text message indicating at what time the package would arrive. Of course, I waited at home. You probably guess what happened. No package. So, I called and they couldn’t trace the package. From that moment I entered Purgatory, the place close to hell. Yes, that rimes to DHL, which is the company I am talking about. They promised to deliver the book three times, never came at the moment they promised, their social service on Twitter was messy, to say the least. They even explained to me their whole process in direct messages (like I care, just deliver the book) and after four days the package arrived. I had spent over three hours on the phone, no chat, but Twitter, and the crazy thing was, once I finally had the book, I still received texts to tell me when the book would be delivered. I still fume when I think about it, kind of shocked. I have learned their internal processes, their internal business lines and many people that hide behind all of the above. Brrr. The book I ordered was good though: “Must win battles” by J. Killing, Thomas Malnight and Tracey Key.

The Ugly

Well, this is where it gets really messy. The first time in my life that I had to go to court when it comes to my own customer experience. I watch customer rights programs always with an ambiguous feeling. First of all, a feisty powerful feeling that I admire the consumers that bring their issues to these programs. But secondly a nauseous feeling, one of disgust that businesses don’t help their customers and that these customers have to bring it to a tv studio to get what is rightfully theirs. I just can’t understand businesses, that won’t help customers. PERIOD. But they do exist. Listen to my story and NO, I didn’t go on national tv with it.  In 2015 I bought a car at Avi Automakelaardij, and I loved the car in an instant. But after a month I had the first issues and my local car mechanic found out that the mileage had been reversed. I contacted the car broker I bought the car from, right away. Because in Dutch law it is the obligation of the car trader to check the mileage and as a consumer, I could annul the sale, which I did. He didn’t want to help me in any way. My car got more failures, even had a motor issue in the end (no driving any more). Still the car dealer didn’t help out. So, I had to get to court to get my right. It was an awful phase in my life (what was I doing in court?!) and I still cannot believe the business owner went as far as to court, instead of helping me out. Yes, he lost the case, had to pay all costs. But no sorry, no excuse. Thinking back of it, I still feel sadness, anger and most of all the frustration of the process.

What is incredible and good to bear in mind? That is that both the Bad and the Ugly happened in 2016. THREE years ago. I even wrote about them in a blog. As I have written them down now, they are what comes to mind. They are the memory of the customer experience. It is not at all factual, but colored with emotions. Like what happens in CX. What feels good, can feel even better after months or years. And what felt awful, bad or ugly, could still feel frustrating now. While writing this, I went to have a look at Plutchik’s wheel of emotion. I learned about this for the first time in the course Learn-to-Customer-Journey-Map-in-One-Day by Conexperience and I have used it a lot since. Because it helps to color in emotions even more. In this wheel, you find many emotions. Not just the happy or sad ones, but all their varieties. Good to use while journey mapping, but also for the next step in this blog.

What I would like you to do is think of your Good, Bad and Ugly customer experiences and find the two emotions per experience. For the wheel, click here. Take ten minutes, write down the Good, Bad and Ugly, as well as your emotions. This is good for you and your own business. What kind of emotions did you experience? Do you know that you might be giving these experiences to your customers and the emotions that come with them? And most important, how did you deal with your emotions? Know your customers have to deal with their emotions too and might lash out on contact center agents or store employees. A good exercise of emotions to walk in your own shoes as a customer and to get out of the traditional business context. Of course, feel free to share your stories and experiences with me in the comments. Let’s learn and grow together. And for now, I am whistling the soundtrack of the Good, the Bad and they Ugly for you. Happy and hopeful greetz from the Netherlands.


** Nienke Bloem is an expert in Customer Experience (CCXP), both as Keynote Speaker, teacher of the 2 day CX Masterclass to prepare you for the CCXP exam and she is co-founder of the customer experience game. Do you want to read her blogs or learn more about her? Visit her website or subscribe to her monthly CX Greetz. **


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