Customer Experience: How to Delight and Disappoint a Customer

If you are regular reader of this blog you may remember that I set-up a business bank account with Barclays Bank and shared my experience:

If you read those posts and come away thinking that my experience was one of disappointment then you’d be correct.  So where do I stand today with regards to Barclays Bank?

Barclays Bank: a customer experience that leaves me delighted and grateful

Recently, I changed the name of my consulting company to Bold Intent.  Given this change I was expecting to have to get together various documents, make an appointment with a Barclays Bank branch, and then take in the paperwork to get the account name, cheque book, and credit cards etc changed.  Being human, I thought about doing it when the official name change document came through the post. And I put off doing it as it just showed up as too much hassle.

A few days later I got a letter from Barclays Bank. Upon opening it I found myself surprised and delighted.  Why? Barclays Bank had worked out that I had changed the name of the company and issued me with a new cheque book and a new paying-in book – both reflecting the new company name.  What did I say to myself? “Wow, this is great!”  A few days later I received another couple of letters.  These letters contained the updated credit cards.  How was I left feeling?  Actually, a better question is how do I feel towards Barclays Bank, right now?  I feel grateful. Why?  Because Barclays Bank helped me out – saved me time, effort, concern – without me even asking them to help me out.  They anticipated a need and met it.

So if you want to delight your customers then do the unexpected.  Anticipate and meet customer needs in way that simplifies-enriches your customers lives. Take actions that generate gratitude and invite reciprocity. Like Virgin Atlantic did when they upgraded me from Economy to Business Class many years ago.  Like Halfords did when they made it easy for me to return a product to the local store when I had bought it online.  Like my local garage did by not charging me the quoted amount when the found the fault was simply a loose wire – which they fixed at no charge…..

Sky TV: how to use marketing to interrupt and disappoint a customer

I used to buy a landline, broadband, and TV services from Sky. Some time ago, I stopped subscribing to the Sky TV ‘product’.  Why? Because Sky TV insisted on doubling the price. And this gave me a great excuse for not buying Sky TV.  Thus, helping me obtain two objectives. First, giving me greater access to the lounge. Second, helping me ensure that my children watched less television (in the lounge).

Is Sky celebrating with me? No. Sky continue to send me direct mail with a view to enticing me back as a customer. At the start I used to open this mail just to see what the offer was. Now, I don’t even do that, the direct mail arrives and I put it in the waste paper basket.  Whilst, I can live with this as it is not that intrusive, it is a different matter when it comes to the regular calls. What calls?

Clearly Sky has an outbound tele-marketing team and members of this team ring me regularly. Each time they have a special offer for me.  Each time I tell them that  I am not interested.  I even spell out why I am not interested: I don’t watch television and when I did have Sky TV my children did nothing but watch Sky TV!  Does this stop the outbound tele-marketing team from calling me?  No.  I continue to get calls. I continue to be made aware of a product that I do not want.  I continue to be told about offers that I don’t care about.

What broke this camel’s back and prompted this post? This Monday it was Early May Bank Holiday here in England. I was outside doing some gardening in the glorious sunshine. Who calls? Sky!  What does the young lady want to talk about? A great offer about Sky TV.  I say, “Do you know that it is a Bank Holiday? How is it that you are calling me on a Bank Holiday?”  I was expecting an apology for being interrupted once more about a product that I do not want, on a Bank Holiday.  Did I get the apology? No!

The young lady clearly had a mission and a script. She ploughed on with the pitch/script. So I told her what I had already told her colleagues: I don’t want Sky TV, it is a blessing that it is gone, I cannot be tempted to buy it even if you offer it to me for free.  Finally, she got the message. She ended up by wishing me a great holiday.  That would have been a great way to end the conversation if she had come across as sincere.  She didn’t. She came across as inauthentic: what was clear from her tone was her disappointment that I had not taken up her offer…..

So that is how you disappoint a customer and rupture the bonds of any relationship: ignore what matters to your customer; ignore what your customer has told you; continue sending direct mail even though you have had no response to many mailings; and back up that with intrusive tele-marketing calls that create no value for the customer!

Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant. Passionate about enabling customer-centricity by calling forth the best from those that work in the organisation and the intelligent application of digital technologies. Subject matter expert with regards to customer strategy, customer insight, customer experience (CX), customer relationship management (CRM), and relationship marketing. Working at the intersection of the Customer, the Enterprise (marketing, sales, service), and Technology.

4 thoughts on “Customer Experience: How to Delight and Disappoint a Customer”

  1. Maz,

    Unfortunately, the second is an all-too-common story; as I read it, I just nodded my head. Yup, I’ve gotten those calls and letters before in a similar scenario.

    And the first story, well, that one would probably scare me, especially given that it’s a bank. I would wonder if someone stole my identity or if someone called them for me. (Or if they learned of this because of a credit reporting agency or some other marketing agency.) I would probably never think it was as a result of some great proactive service by my bank. (Because that just never happens: (1) bank service sucks, and (2) they are so locked down and secure that it seems like you can’t even talk to a teller without showing your ID.) And yet, while this was a great timesaver for you, my preference would actually be that the bank calls me first to confirm, for a variety of reasons.

    Maybe I just need to be retrained!

    Annette 🙂


  2. A while since I commented, so relating to your Sky TV comments…. I do not have Sky or Virgin Cable. I do occasionally get offers from Sky, which I might look at and ignore. However I estimate every two weeks I get in the post an offer from Virgin. I have never called them or talked to them but I am constantly getting letters from them. But they work – in as much as I sometimes skim through them while eating lunch. And here’s the odd thing, they are (to the untrained eye) identical offers, every time. Why? And here’s a secret (I hope they don’t read you blog), there IS a “package” I would be interested in, but they never offer it – it’s always with a telephone line, for an extra £14 per month which I don’t want. Plain TV – possibly might “find out more”. But you’re right Maz, then my son would watch more TV.

    And yesterday BT have surprised everyone with announcing free Premiership Rugby and some free football games for their broadband customers. I like them!


  3. Maz, on the one hand you have an organisation that is joined up,understands what is happening, delights you and does it all in one cheap and easy fell swoop.

    On the other you have a business that keeps messing it up and it is costing them money.

    I guess it is a good job for Sky that most people are content to leave their children in the lounge whilst they are out in the garden



    1. Hello James

      I find myself to be in agreement with you. And am delighted to report that a chap from Sky has already contacted me with a view to figuring out how to improve the customer experience at Sky.



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