One of QuickLogic’s core beliefs is that we must deliver winning customer experiences for all of our clients. This is paramount, no matter how good our technology is, or how compelling our engagement model may be. There is competition out there. Without a world class experience, QuickLogic’s customers are a lot more apt to explore them.
I was reminded of the importance of winning customer experiences twice in the last week.
The first: I purchased a smartphone (Friday at 3 PM) from eBay that contains Android 4.0, AKA Ice Cream Sandwich. I needed this phone urgently for software testing, so I took the step of paying $34.50 extra for overnight shipping (ground shipping was free). Turns out the seller didn’t bother to ship the phone until Tuesday morning, and then shipped it ground. When I contacted them about their mistake, their answer was that ‘they ship a lot of boxes and this one got lost in the shuffle’, and that they’d refund me $20. I assumed the $20 was on top of the shipping charge…but no. I had to contact them again to request the whole $34.50, which they finally refunded me.
A winning customer experience? I think not. The fact I had to chase them, twice, to make up for their mistake should never have happened. Sometimes things happen, and mistakes are made. As a supplier, it’s imperative that when you make the mistake, you do what you can do to best make up for it. This doesn’t involve your customer having to chase you down. This involves proactive work—in this case, a winning customer experience could have been delivered by the seller contacting the shipper to expedite the shipment, or by immediately shipping out another phone overnight and recalling the in-transit goods.
The second: In the process of creating custom cables for a new demo system, I engaged with [name redacted], a company who promised quick turn times on custom assemblies. The specification on the cable was sent on January 11th, and they planned on producing these immediately after Chinese New Year (CNY). CNY passes with no cables—after contacting them, the company asked me again for the spec and hasn’t yet provided a ship date. Their answer to why the cables haven’t been made: “Too many things after CNY”. Their initial promise of quick turns hasn’t been met, nor has their commitment of a ship date. While it looks like my cables are being assembled right now, their response has been far from adequate.
They certainly haven’t delivered a winning customer experience. They failed to deliver on multiple commitments, namely the ‘quick turn’ promise, as well as the promise of a build immediately after CNY. A WCE could have resulted from them being open about their inability to build parts when promised. This would have allowed us to make alternative arrangements, or perhaps spec changes that would have been satisfactory to both parties and allowed on-time shipments.
Of course, delivering on commitments is only one facet of a winning customer experience. Others off the top of my head (there are certainly more):
- Has the customer derived value in what QuickLogic sold them?
- Does QuickLogic make the customers product better/faster/cheaper/etc…?
- Was the engagement beneficial to both sides? Did the customer learn from QuickLogic, and the reverse?
- In the case of any difficulty, did the response from the ‘guilty’ party meet and exceed expectations?
- Was the communication open and honest?
So do we actually provide winning customer experiences? I believe so. I’d point to the example of Kyocera. It’s been well-documented in our last two earnings calls that we ran into a last-second issue with VEE and Kyocera’s Digno smartphone. We believe that QuickLogic’s response to the issue has strengthened the relationship between the two companies. We are confident this belief is shared by Kyocera as well.
So, to our customers, we promise to continue, as we always have, to do everything we can to deliver you the best possible experience.
As I was wrapping up writing this blog, I heard a great story of a truly winning customer experience. Our graphics/web guru and resident technophile, Kazu, visited the local branch of a Seattle-based chain coffee store this AM for his usual iced Americano. This particular chain features a smartphone app that allows you to pay for purchases. Well, today their scanners and network were down. They manually tried to enter his information into their register, but that didn’t work. Rather than ask for cash, the barista simply apologized for the problem and offered the coffee for free.
That is the definition of a WCE—the customer left the shop with a closer connection to the company that he had before, will certainly return, and mentioned his experience to a number of other potential customers. All that for literally the cost of a cup of coffee.