What Does Your Service Feel Like?

Posted: 6th December 2010

I was having a conversation a few days ago with a business friend who works in the planning sector. He was trying to work out how best to describe his business and service on his new website.

The proposed content sounded good and obviously highlighted his professionalism and expertise. However, it crossed my mind that if I didn't know him personally I'm not sure whether that would be enough to persuade me to use his service over a competitors, or even use a planning service at all - rather muddle through on my own.

The landscape has shifted and it's no longer enough to just decribe how your service or product solves a problem for your customer. Expectations in quality and customer service have never been higher and to have a product that works is now an entry requirement not an aspiration.

You've probably seen the BUPA adverts on the TV, the cartoon ones with the catchy little "do-be-do" melody from Pixar's "Knick Knack", and the characters and scenes made from simple shapes. What these adverts do well is that they don't just say "we'll help you get better", instead they explain how it feels to access their services (I don't know if it's a true reflection because I've never been to a BUPA hospital but the adverts make a good case). They talk about clean hospitals and expert doctors, how reassured they will make you and how fast you will be treated. Most of all they show the context of their service against the backdrop of your day to day life.

From my own personal experience, NHS hospitals deliver the same things but most still talk about services that work rather than services that make patients feel good.

I have been pleasantly surprised to see the number of healthcare organisations embracing social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Last week @NHSManchester posted a series of great tweets about patient experience. Wonderful quotes from happy and satisfied patients. (Ok, they may get their share of complaints too). This is what their service feels like. Patient experience is too often overlooked in favour of finance and other performance indicators. It's not that the health care professionals aren't committed to delivering excellent experiences, more that it isn't given the high priority it needs at the most senior level.

This is the kind of information that will be shared over cups of tea in countless homes and the kind of information that is vital to you if you want to build a solid brand.

So a question for you... what experience are you offering? How do your customers feel when they access your services or buy your products? (This isn't the same as asking what solution you provide for them.) If you aren't sure, ask them.




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