We are already doing customer satisfaction studies, so why do we need a customer experience study?”

‘Serendipity’ is one of those words that just sound so lovable and full of optimism, of happy coincidences, of good tidings to come.
If one were to look up the word’s origins, a reading of a Wikipedia entry , that of Horace Walpole’s 1754 retelling of an old Arab tale would be in order.

A comment during a recent pitch we were involved in, set me thinking.

The discussion was on how and why organizations relied on “Mystery Shoppers and Mystery Shopping” as a valid method of gauging Customer Experience and thence Customer Satisfaction.

I can’t quite recollect where I heard it, but the anecdote goes that in the years when there was still a USSR, a bunch of Soviet scientists went to the US for a conference. They had heard much about the economy of abundance and looked forward to their shopping trip to the nearby supermarket.

Stress

Way back in 1932, to Hans Selier, an Austrian physician goes the credit for coming up with the term “stress” ( a term he apparently borrowed from metallurgy ) to mean the response system in animals which saves your life if it lasts very briefly, and makes you very sick if it goes on for too long.

‘Cede control to the customer’ said the tweet I sent out recently when I pointed to a post `Stress and Customer response’ by a colleague… and, boy, did it get some incredulous `you must be off your rockers’ reactions.

There is an interesting angle to India’s new affluent ( this sounds so much better than saying “nouveau riche”, a term which now has been made almost a pejorative)

The angle is that many of these New High Net worth Individuals (NHNI) are homegrown in more ways than one.

A recent episode of No Reservations that I caught playing on television had the host Anthony Bourdain visiting the iconic restaurant, El Bulli, up in the Catalan mountains.

In a previous post I wrote about the restaurant El Bulli and how touching the soul of the patron is, in many ways, the pinnacle of great sensory design.

As a natural progression, it led to the rejoinder from a reader that went – That is all very fine but the moot question is, “Can one touch souls and be profitable too?”

‘Redeemed 3832.56 units of (Mutual Fund Name) on 12-Aug-11 at an NAV of Rs xxxx. Your a/c has been credited with Rs. XXXXX’

Thus read the early-morning SMS I received from Citibank. A happy situation one might surmise. But instead it led to a flurry of totally unplanned, frenetic activity for me – racking my befuddled morning brain for a sale order I’d placed, impatiently logging into the banking system to trace the `Rs XXXX credited’. Fact-finding calls to my broker. Finding no trace of anything anywhere. Just one SMS. And my morning was shot.

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