Miriam Gomberg

a lesson in customer experience

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What does school have to do with customer experience? As a paying student (customer) it is up to me to find value in classes. I am lucky to have the opportunity to attend graduate school, but I am still a consumer of education.

The other night I experienced a class that was excruciatingly dull. During the last 30 minutes of a 3 hour class, I looked around at other students and realized that no one was paying attention to the professor’s lecture. Some were texting on smart phones or checking Facebook on laptops (guilty), while others were drooling out of their half-sleeping mouths. I expected to hear Ben Stein call out to the class “Bueller, Bueller?”

Which is worse?

I couldn’t decide who was more ill mannered; the students for a blatant disregard for the teacher standing in front of us, or the professor for choosing to make us suffer through a lengthy and boring PowerPoint presentation?

One student rose from his seat and exited during the lecture. I was jealous of his lack of fear as he slung a backpack over his shoulder and sauntered out of class. The professor hardly noticed as she smiled and continued.

Student; 1, Teacher; 0

Most of the time, I would say that a student who left mid-lecture was more rude. The reality is that he was reacting like a customer who was being ignored. The lecture was not for the customers (students) benefit.

The answer is simple enough. If you want to retain customers, engage them. Pay attention to your customers and they will thank you and want to return. If you want to cry out, “anyone, anyone,” to a sleeping disengaged audience act as if you are the only one in the room who matters.

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This entry was published on October 19, 2011 at 7:02 am. It’s filed under Customer Focus and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “a lesson in customer experience

  1. Interesting analogy, Miriam. Sadly, many businesses behave in similar manners. Their work becomes more about accomplishing a particular agenda than in satisfying the customers. After all, without customers we would have no business. How can you possibly take them for granted?

    Even the most venerable brands can disappear if they don’t pay attention. Think about Circuit City, Kodak, Max Factor, and more. They all took their eye off the prize (customers) and spent too much time doing what they wanted to do. There are a hundreds more similar stories with less recognizable names.

    Lesson learned. Regardless your brand’s popularity and visibility, you still need to keep your customers happy. Only they can tell you how.

    • Welcome Marc! As soon as I left the class, I knew there was a message to be told. Unfortunately, we live in a “me” time where companies forget about their customers except when the dollars start disappearing.

      I enjoy this class until it is time for the lecture and she shuts us out. That is the moment I become disengaged and start fiddling with my laptop. She is so busy talking at us that she fails to see no one is listening. Maybe it is because it is late and I have worked all day before going to school, but I don’t think so. I have had other classes where the 3 hours seemed to fly by because the professor engaged the class in a dialogue rather than performing a monologue.

      It is interesting how easy it is to tie classroom lessons (not lectures) into a related business setting. Thanks so much for commenting! Miriam

  2. You are right and the instructor missed an opportunity to engage the class by including them in the conversation instead of droning on… Sometimes though, some instructors are not trained teachers and silly lack the skills to do well at it.

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