Customer Experience and the With Pleasure Principle


Blake Morgan, Contributor

May 19, 2015

We’ve heard of the pleasure principle, the theory created by Freud, which means seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. What about the “with pleasure” principle?

The “with pleasure” principle is when customer-facing employees literally serve customers with pleasure. As simple as this sounds, it’s actually quite rare.

Have you gotten a manicure while the manicurist was on her cell phone? Have you had to chase your waiter like some kind of stalker? Have you been to a doctor who delivered bad health news in an apathetic way? These are some of the customer experiences I’m talking about.

We all know the difference between an experience where we are served “with pleasure” and an experience where we are served “without pleasure.” So why is there be so much variation from one customer experience to the next?

Let’s start by looking at the customer facing employees. It is only normal that human beings get tired. They get hungry. They get sick. They might have problems with other employees at work. They might have personal problems at home. It’s possible they feel unappreciated or disposable at work. Maybe they need a vacation.

Companies that go above and beyond to create a pleasurable environment for their employees will find their employees are happier at work. With happier customer facing employees, customer retention numbers improve by leaps and bounds. In this day and age customer experience matters.

By 2020 customer experience will overtake price as the key brand differentiator. This is good news for companies that invest in employee onboarding, training, culture and development, and bad news for companies that ignore it. This is good news for companies that ask for and act on employee feedback. This is bad news for companies that don’t take employee feedback, or take the feedback and let it sit.

In a recent column I talked about how to make employees proud to represent your brand but we haven’t talked about how to hire and develop employees who serve with pleasure.

I’m an optimist and an idealist. I believe that most people get up in the morning wanting to do a good job at work. There are exceptions but for the most part people you hire want to feel like they are contributing at their place of work. Most human beings would love the opportunity to be helpful. It’s in our nature.

But even the most loyal employees can have a bad day. The problem arises when too many of your employees are having bad days and bad customer experiences are the status quo.

Here are some tips to get you started on creating a culture where serving “with pleasure” is the norm. Hire for attitude, don’t worry about the most skilled worker. You can’t teach someone to have a can-do attitude. If a person doesn’t have it in them to care about other people, or take pride in their work, it’s best not to hire them. You can hire the smartest person in the bunch, but at the end of the day your customers (and this employees’ colleagues) aren’t going to care how smart they are. Do they fit in with your culture of kindness? Do they do what’s best for the team and not for themselves? Are they diligent in helping the customer?

Outside of hiring practices, brands today need to make a concerted effort to create a healthy working environment for customer-facing employees. The employee must have their immediate needs met so they feel their best at work. Employees should be given proper tools to do their jobs. They should be rested, fed and have access to sunlight throughout the day. Employees should have people they can talk to at work when things aren’t going great, or even when they are–like a buddy or informal mentoring program.

It’s not just customer-facing employees who must “serve with pleasure.” Leaders at the top of the company can set the standard for service by having a service oriented attitude at work. Do the leaders appear to love their work? Do they care about each and every employee? Do the employees feel the leaders are genuine? This stuff really matters. The leaders must embody the “with pleasure” principle as well.

So in conclusion I’m interested in your experiences with the “with pleasure” principle. What companies have you experienced over to top service with? How does your brand embody this quality?

Please do so in the comments section below.

For more from Blake Morgan find her on twitter @BlakeMichelleM.

This article was written by Blake Morgan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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