Most marketers are talking about customer centricity. However many are simply paying lip service to it rather than actually having a clear transformation roadmap to guide implementation.

This is evident in my consulting work, as well as with three completely different recent experiences.

Experience #1: Poor

nissan service

I bought a new car over a year ago and booked it in for an annual service at their new service centre. They offered me a loan car for an additional fee. “Excuse me” I remarked. “Is that customer centric when your competitors offer a loan car as a value add?”

Having declined the loan car, I turned up on the day to drop my car off. The service centre was brand spanking new and extremely organised and clean. Not your typical auto service centre.

So my expectations were raised that this would be a great customer experience. However it didn’t last.

The admin person said they would call my by 2pm to confirm a pick up time. By 4pm I thought I’d better call them as I hadn’t heard a peep.

Another admin person answered the phone and then put me on hold to ask the head mechanic re timing. I then received some garbled business centric information about how busy they were and that they were 2 mechanics down and whether I could come at 5pm to pick it up? Not even a sorry, or we’ll send a taxi to come and pick you up. Maybe I was expecting too much!

Arriving at 5pm all was fine, however the person delivering the car to the pick-up area stank and the car was left with the smell of foul air. Another lost opportunity to positively impact my sensorial experience. And the admin person again complained as to how busy they had been.

I’d give the overall experience a 3 out of 10. And from a customer centricity perspective, they would rate about a 2 out of 10.

Experience #2. Terrible

hardware and general

A spring had broken in an old-fashioned door handle in our house. So I was on the hunt to find a replacement part.

Walking into one outlet, I was greeted by a hoodie-wearing, 20-something year old that could barely grunt. I couldn’t believe he was customer facing. However at least he did pass me on to a senior service person that showed me what they had.

Now, to set the scene, this was a man who was obviously busy, and who had many things on his mind. He was hurriedly trying to get me to make a decision on a handle that was larger than my current one.

I asked whether the brand he was showing me stocked a smaller one in the same range to match the one I was replacing. He said, “I doubt it”.

“I doubt it!” Was he for real? Is that customer friendly?

Well how about you look it up in a database or catalogue or something, I thought to myself.

He then called to the 20-something year old to look it up. And promptly shuffled off saying “I’m very busy and have so much paperwork to do.”

I was dumbfounded. This joker doesn’t deserve my business. But I couldn’t really be bothered to look around.

Anyway they found the right sized handle and part and ordered it in. The 20-something year old took the order and then said, “We’ll call you when it’s in. But if you don’t hear from us in about a week, give us a call.”

#fail. By this stage I am rating them a 2 out of 10 for the overall experience. And from a customer centricity perspective, they get a 1 out of 10.

Experience #3. Awesome.


It’s amazing when you do actually experience fantastic service. And when I do, I’m always happy to rave about it, as well as mention the brand. In this case, the Apple Store on George Street.

My phone had stopped charging, so being near the Apple Store, I thought I’d pop in and see if they could take a look.

The person greeting me was cheerful and helpful, pointing me straight to lift to level 2.

The person booking in all the repairs and queries was a legend. He asked what was wrong, took my details, tapped away on his tablet and then said, “Anton, I’ll get you a spot. Just take a seat we’ll have someone with you shortly”.

  • He never mentioned how busy they were (and there were at least 20 staff serving and about 30 people waiting).
  • He never asked me whether I had made a booking (which I obviously couldn’t have as my phone battery was dead and wasn’t charging)
  • And he never made me felt like an idiot for walking in off the street and expecting a service straight away

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 2.48.18 PM

Within a few minutes a coloured-haired hipster shouted my name, “Anton, you’re in. Meet Jen. She’ll be able to help you out.”

Jen proceeded to check the charging port, give it a clean out, test my charging cable and then solve the problem.

She could have stopped there, but then went on to exceed my expectations and run me through battery saving tips and other cool things. As well as a couple of product ideas for battery charging. Nice up-sell (in a subtle way when she knew I was positively predisposed).

She also took a swipe at the Apple Watch saying, “it’ll be a fad. Why do we need to check our heartbeat and all the other stuff every second!” she said. I agreed.

A human experience from a brand that exmploys staff that get it. Staff who focus on solving customers’ problems despite all the internal procedures, technology and processes they’re required to complete.

All in all a brand experience that made me feel special and not a hindrance. Yes they had created an advocate.

Now if only they had a database marketing strategy where they could harness the power of people’s advocacy.

Have you come across a customer centric brand?

So there you have it. Three recent examples of dramatically different experiences.

I wonder what you’ve experienced lately?