Customer Experience Roundup, February 18, 2019

Customer experience can make or break a business. A good experience can create loyal customers, while a bad experience can have people running for the hills. In fact, it takes more effort and resources to recover a customer after a bad experience than to get a new customer.

This week three companies were in the news for their customer experiences—some good and some bad. These examples teach the importance of always putting customer experience first and looking for ways to best exceed expectations.

Lufthansa Sues Passenger For Skipping Flight

Miss a flight? You might be headed to court. That’s what happened for one Lufthansa passenger. Airline tickets can be expensive, and some passengers use a strategy called hidden city ticketing to save money. If a passenger who wants to fly from San Francisco to Atlanta finds a cheaper flight from San Francisco to Miami with a layover in Atlanta, they can buy the ticket and then get off during their layover in Atlanta without ever traveling to Miami. A Lufthansa passenger tried the strategy when buying a ticket from Oslo to Seattle but got off during the layover in Frankfurt and didn’t finish the purchased itinerary. Lufthansa is suing the passenger for €2,112 (around $2,385) for breaking the terms and conditions of the ticket. A judge in Berlin dismissed the lawsuit, and Lufthansa is now preparing to appeal.

From Lufthansa’s point of view, it’s frustrating to miss out on revenue for customers who find a loophole. However, the optics of suing a customer are almost inexcusable. Taking someone to court, especially for relatively small damages, shows that Lufthansa cares more about money than it does about its customers. We’ll have to see how the case plays out and if other airlines follow suit.

Fitness Influencer Called A Scam By Customers

Who wouldn’t want a healthy, lean body like the models all over Instagram? Fitness influencer Brittany Dawn has a following of more than 500,000 people for her workout tips and lifestyle posts. She also sells customized fitness plans for up to $300, which are supposed to include personalized meal recommendations, workouts and weekly check ins from Brittany Dawn. But now months after purchasing the package, dozens of customers say they didn’t receive what was promised or see results. They had no way of contacting Brittany Dawn and could only get a refund if they signed a non-disclosure agreement. Brittany has apologized for the mix-up and changed her refund policy, but it’s likely too little, too late for most customers.

This example shows the power of customer experience during times of trouble. Brittany said the reason for not fulfilling orders was because her business grew too quickly. When things don’t go as planned or are delayed, brands need to communicate with customers and be open and honest. Instead, Brittany Dawn was inaccessible and made it difficult for customers to get their money back. A strong customer experience is based on trust, and it was missing in this case.

Kroger Builds Flywheel To Future-Proof Business

It’s no secret that consumer trends are changing, especially when it comes to groceries. By 2022, an estimated 20% of grocery shopping will happen online. In order to prepare for coming changes, Kroger is putting together a flywheel, similar to what Amazon configured. The flywheel brings together various aspects of the business, including curbside pickup, grocery delivery and exclusive Kroger brands to drive new revenue. Kroger executives hope the flywheel approach will create a cohesive omni-channel customer experience that meets changing demands and exceeds expectations.

Kroger is a great example of a large store changing with new trends and technology. Moving to a flywheel approach is a major change, but Kroger shows that customers are worth it. The company is willing to invest in new programs to help get customers what they want. That’s the root of excellent customer experience.

Brands that focus on customer experience and show they value and appreciate their customers tend to be more successful than brands that only seem focused on the bottom line. Learn from these examples to see the power of transparency and authenticity when it comes to customers.

Blake Morgan is a keynote speaker, futurist and author of “More Is More.” Sign up for her weekly customer experience newsletter here.

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