Customer Irritation Can Erode Customer Experience

Frustration Drives People Away

I was recently at a business conference at a highly regarded venue. The presenter was wonderful and provided lots of strategies, techniques, and solutions for those in attendance. Participants walked away with a wealth of knowledge and takeaways ready to implement in their companies.

The food was great. The venue provided a light breakfast, delicious lunches, snacks, and a wide variety of sodas and water.

One thing that was a surprise to everyone was the renovation taking place on a grand scale. However, the venue did a remarkable job with signage to direct parking and where to enter the main building.

Upon the conclusion as everyone was walking out to their cars, I overheard several conversations focusing on two extreme irritations during the conference.

1) Access to the provided WiFi was impossible. While everyone could select the WiFi network and was taken to the login screen… everything froze from that point on. The screens simply didn’t progress past the login screen, regardless of network carrier. And because the conference room was in the lower levels, we all transitioned between no network, 3G, and LTE randomly.

The irritation was that WiFi was presented as an option, accessed to the login screen… and then left everyone hanging. Several attendees mentioned that it would have felt better to them had it not been offered as an option at all.

As a result, one of the people at my table lost all of his notes he took on his computer. Apparently he was in LTE mode when accessing the online program, yet because of the inconsistency of network connection in the room without WiFi, his notes were lost as soon as he turned off his computer.

2) The room temperature was freezing 90% of the time. As in, I’m sure the aging process was slowed dramatically for those in the room during those two days. I know, HVAC is a challenge in most buildings, but it is something that impacts the ability for participants to fully engage in an event. When folks are too hot or cold and the temperature passes their comfort threshold, they become distracted looking for ways to become more comfortable.

The interesting thing was that some of the attendees went to a local restaurant at the conclusion of the first day’s curriculum and the temperature in the restaurant was so cold that a few folks went to their cars to grab sweaters and jackets. Someone even brought out a blanket from their car to use in the restaurant. When this was discussed at our table the next morning, one of my table mates said “If you managed a restaurant, wouldn’t you make absolutely everything would be done to keep people comfortable so they could enjoy their meal? It was crazy cold.” No one mentioned the food, the conversation, only the temperature.

The point… the conference content was wonderful. But when asked about the venue, most everyone mentioned the WiFi and temperature without mentioning the renovation challenge or the beautiful gardens that surround the building itself.

When this company hosts another conference, I wonder if they will consider holding it somewhere else because of the irritations listed above. These examples may not be deal breakers in your mind. The point is that they both caused extreme irritation for everyone in the room. One of the main drivers of customer defection is irritation. When customers experience frustration and irritation with a company, they begin to look elsewhere.

Where do your customer possibly experience irritation and frustration when working with your company? Is it hold times on calls, delays in email responses, set time expectations for resolution not met, not having a main or consistent point person to handle their account so they feel like a first time customer every time they contact you? Do business with your own company. Experience what your customers experience. See what irritates or frustrates you. If you notice it, your customers will too.

Are you willing to risk losing customers to irritation that could be addressed? If you truly are committed to improving your Customer Experience, take an objective look at what your customers see and feel.

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