There I sat, on a crusty chair that probably hadn’t been wiped down with a Clorox wipe since it was moved into place in the 70’s. The scene was one that we have all been in; a doctor’s office – waiting – and waiting. I sat there in the crowded room, arms folded and wanting to cover my mouth with a hazmat suit because the guy next to me was about to lose his lung as he hacked uncontrollably over and over.

My mind was stewing as I checked my phone’s time for what seemed the hundredth time. I had been sitting there for almost sixty minutes and people had come and gone in shorter amounts of time. Why had I even to made an appointment if it didn’t mean anything to the doctor? If this doctor was to come to my office, and I made him wait for an hour he’d likely be so upset he’d walk out or stand up on the coffee table and scream obscenities at me and my staff.

A Polar Opposite Experience

Fast forward 6 months – there I was sitting on another crusty chair; post-surgery checkup. I’d just sat down and prepared myself for another hour long wait. To my surprise, a nice lady came up to me and sat next to me. My first thought was it was another patient, but to my surprise she leaned over and asked politely “Excuse me sir, my name is Maxine. I work for Dr. X (name changed) I just wanted to make sure you were all checked in. Who are you seeing today? Let me check his schedule and see how long it will be before he sees you.”

I was pleasantly surprised and told her who I was waiting for. She politely informed me of how long it would be. The time quickly passed and guess who was coming back up to see me? Maxine. She approached me again and said; “Just wanted to let you know that the Doctor is just about done and you’re next!” My customer experience clock had just been reset, by a simple solution – a personal interaction.

What is the CX Clock?

How many times have you been in line and watched impatiently as the teller, clerk, barista, or whoever goes on about their duties with no eye contact or simple “Hello, be there in a minute”, etc.? This simple interaction resets what I like to call the CX Clock. We each have an internal CX Clock that starts ticking as soon as we are in line or waiting. This clock is our personal little timer that often sets the mood for the overall experience that we are about to have. The longer it ticks, the more annoyed and dissatisfied we get. There is absolutely nothing worse than being ignored or forgotten when it comes to our CX Clock.

Every time a customer interacts with you or your company, they have a pre-conceived expectation of how long the product or service they receive will take. That expectation is set by past experiences, not only with you or your company, but with other similar companies. Fortunately, resetting the CX clock is one of the easiest ways to change that perception and increase that customer’s satisfaction. It’s as simple as reaching out and creating that personal interaction for each customer.

An Easy Fix

Training front line staff and their direct managers to see and interact with customers, not only in front of them, but waiting in lines or lobbies is an easy fix. Creating an atmosphere where they learn to set the customer’s expectations early and often are just as important as the actual product or service. A quick “I’ll be with you in two minutes” with a smile and eye contact will go a lot further than just the quick transaction at the bank teller or barista bar! That interaction sets the stage for your customer to know that they are important and that you/your employee is busy, but that they are working to get to the next person, thus resetting their CX Clock.

As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. It is much easier to prepare your customers for the interaction with your product/service than it is to determine why they are upset after the transaction/experience.

Tick Tock – work on that CX Clock. The CX Clock Reset