Interview Sydney Brouwer

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Many organizations want to make fans of customers, but few succeed. Customers don’t just become fans, you really have to do something for that. Providing great service, for example. Service that is so good that customers remember it, tell it and get wildly excited about your organization. Service that really exceeds the expectation of customers because it is personal and tailor-made, and therefore deserves an extra star: a sixth star. That’s Six Star Service. Service that leaves an unforgettable impression on your customers.

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Everything is different and yet it is not. Perhaps the biggest change is that everything takes place even faster digitally. Faster than it already was. You can make even more of a difference with people. I notice that people crave the reconnection with other like-minded people, precisely because we haven’t been able to do that all these months. At the end of the day, we are group animals and we need social interaction. That’s still the way it stays. And that accelerated digitization is a godsend and an addition, but it always goes hand in hand with human interaction. Together, this ensures an optimal customer experience. According to Sydney Brouwer, speaker and specialist in the field of customer focus and customer experience. Sydney Brouwer takes us into his view of customer experience in the light of today. He explains how you as an organization can make yourself aware of the customer experience that you create for your customers. Do you offer top service to your customers? Or is there room for improvement?

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If an organization takes extra time to listen to your situation and helps you in a specific way, you can now make an even bigger impact than for Corona. For the past six months and certainly the year ahead, we as people and organisations are going to have to do things differently than we did before. I see the current period as an opportunity for organisations to do things differently. Because let’s face it: if you have to do things differently, you better start doing things more customer-oriented. If you move one step closer to the customer, in times when organizations are mainly concerned with themselves, you will soon be two steps ahead.

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It’s possible, we’ve seen that over the last period of time

And if there’s one thing we’ve seen in the last period of time, it’s that you can actually make a difference. All initiatives towards care and the elderly from various organizations. Take, for example, the pick-up points jumbo created at healthcare institutions so that caregivers didn’t have to go to the supermarket after work. It’s possible. Unfortunately, this is often an exception rather than a rule. And yet that’s crazy, because providing that service is generally in us as people. It is often the rules, protocols and systems that make us not feel the space to take that extra step to ensure an optimal customer experience. Whereas during Corona we’ve seen that we can.

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From time to time put on a customer experience glasses

I would occasionally recommend organizations to deliberately set up customer experience glasses. I myself may do that a little too much (my girlfriend sometimes goes crazy) but it makes you aware of your own customer experience. The moment you do this, you’re also going to see more quickly what can be done differently in your own organization. An example: I just got back from vacation. We went to Denmark with a stopover in Germany. We had booked a hotel in an Old Town. When we had to pick up the key at the front desk and the employee told us that we had to go to the top floor, I could already estimate that this would be somewhat annoying. It was 29.5 degrees in the room. There was no air conditioning. The windows bordered a square full of terraces. So there’s a noise. I walked downstairs and asked, “do you have another room? The windows can’t open because of the noise and there is no air conditioning.“ Unfortunately all the rooms were occupied. “Do you probably have a mobile air con, a fan?“ Unfortunately these were already used by the other guests. And at that moment, I looked over her shoulder into the office behind her. There was a fan buzzing. I point to it and look at her asking. „I can’t give it to customers, sir, this one’s for the staff.“ That gave me an insight. Customers are not in the first place here, employees are in the first place. This is exactly why you always have to put the customer on one. Eventually, after a threat to leave, we got that fan. But the bad impression had already been aroused.

This awareness of the customer experience you offer your customers is something that many managers find difficult. Similarly, a published study by Capgemini shows. As many as 75% of the managers/companies surveyed say they are customer-oriented, only 30% of customers agree. That gap between the numbers? That’s what I call a problem. It is important that managers are more in touch with customers and not just get their „insights“ from reports or grades. Otherwise, it is impossible to build a customer-oriented organization.

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Let smart technology work for you, so you can take that extra step

My latest book is called Six Star Service. Service that’s so good, your customer remembers it years later. This is not provided by computers and algorithms. This is about making sure that an employee has the space in his calendar and his head to spot opportunities and take that extra step. How do you do that? By making smart technology work for you. Organize your processes in such a way that the employee has the space to provide that optimal service.

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In the digital customer journey exceed expectations

Just before the holidays, I called a web store. She recognized my phone number and the operator answered with: “Are you Mr Brouwer from Amersfoort?“ I didn’t have to pass on all kinds of zip codes and order numbers. She had direct attention to me and my problem. The easiest technology (and already quite old) there is: number recognition. This technology was there even earlier than the answering machines. If we call each other and recognize each other directly, why can’t companies do this? That direct and complete attention to me and my problem, so that the employee has more time and space to spend those 4 minutes on me instead of finding out who I am. That’s an example of what technology needs to do. But why is it so hard to exceed expectations in that digital customer journey? Because we often take the human aspect out of it. It’s a shame because you don’t have to, provided the technology is right.

I believe that there are 2 ways to win in the field of customer experience over the next 20 years:

1. An easy, quick, frictionless customer journey
2. Creating memories

And this has to be put together. Because if you were to focus solely on the first one, you would make customers loyal to the process and not to the organization. If a competitor has set up the process even more easily and more frictionally than you, he switches. That’s why we’re buying from CoolBlue and Bol.com and not from the Blokker. He doesn’t care to come back to the store. So it’s clear, the difference you make is creating memories and the support you get through the use of smart tooling so that as an organization you really get the space to create those memories.

See how to order the book Six Star Service from Sydney Brouwer here.

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Do you want to make an unforgettable impression on your customers?

Contact us:

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