Blocking: Great for Football. Not Great for Customer Experience

Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

A couple weeks ago I took my family to a local sporting event that cost north of a hundred bucks. As the game started I realized there was an usher, who was employed by the arena, standing directly in my view. He was blocking half the field of play.

Another man sitting across the aisle with his family yelled to the usher, “Are you going to stand there the entire game?” And the usher indicated that he was and there was nothing he could do about it. The man sat there, frustrated for a moment. But then he and his family filed out, hopefully finding better seats.

Hoping for a different result, I took to Twitter. After all, the team made a big deal of encouraging fans to “connect on social media” before the game started. Weeks later I’m still awaiting a response to that tweet. The usher did end up moving over a bit, the annoyance mostly subsided, and my family enjoyed the game.

Are you blocking your customers?

Customer journey mapping is all the rage in the customer experience world, and for good reason. It’s about understanding the customer’s entire experience before, during, and after doing business and working to improve that journey — alleviating points of friction along the way.

I thought this was such a great visual of the customer being completely blocked in their journey. Might I suggest that as you aim to help customers do business with you, that you work to remove these blockers? Perhaps it’s a broken customer service phone number, or an error page on a website, or a critical feature that’s missing, or an usher physically blocking the customer’s view.

Listen to the voice of the customer

That’s also why it’s so important to listen to the voice of the customer. Not every customer will say something, but if you pay close enough attention, you will see where the customer asked for the blocker to be removed before they took their business elsewhere. You will see that Tweet where the customer pleaded for a solution only to go unacknowledged.

Sit in the seat of the customer

Here’s another idea. What if someone had been walking around the arena and sitting in various seats to see the game from the fan’s perspective? What a great opportunity to check in with a dozen or so fans and ask them about their experience.

What blockers need to be removed?

Yes, the clues are there and quite obvious if you pay close enough attention and open your eyes and ears. What are some of the ways your company is blocking your customers and how can you improve their journey?

As for me, while I’m glad my family had a good time, I may think twice next time about whether that’s how I want to spend my money. Wouldn’t you rather do business with a company that invites you to watch the action rather than blocking your view?

Jeremy Watkin is a Product Marketing Manager at 8x8. He has more than 19 years of experience as a customer service professional leading high performing teams in the contact center. Jeremy has been recognized numerous times as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working you can typically find him spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis. Be sure to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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