DDLS Philippines Country General Manager Mike Calma makes some observations on the customer journey and how he set out to make our customers happier.
Last week, with the prodding of some friends, I finally gave in to the Audible 30-day free trial. Listening to audiobooks, I thought, would be a good way to fill during my daily drive through Metro Manila traffic. When you subscribe to Audible, you get to download two audiobooks a month as part of your subscription. One of my first two audiobooks was Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell. The other book I chose, we can discuss another time.
I’ve always been a Gladwell fan, since The Tipping Point and Blink I have been fascinated by his insights backed with diligent research and wrapped in his entrancing storytelling style. These are insights I could apply at work, or at the very least serve as an interesting conversation topic on nights out with friends. This new book was not only made to be read, but it was also meant to be heard. In the audiobook version, you get to hear the voices of people he interviewed as well as sound bites from the actual events.
I was a happy customer.
Then I thought, how could we make our customers at DDLS Philippines as happy if not happier?
We need to map the customer journey. In my previous blog post, I discussed training from three different personas: Trainee, Manager (of the Trainee), and the Trainer. Empathizing with the customer (in this case the trainee and manager of the trainee), then formulating informed guesses about what their behaviors are, is the first and most critical step. Of course, understanding internal stakeholders (in this example the trainer) is equally important. How can one deliver a service that would delight the client without understanding the person largely responsible for the service delivery? We obsess about having the best trainers available. Not only should they be able to articulate on the subject matter, but they should also be able to translate these into real-world applications that the trainees can apply in their day-to-day jobs. I know the trainer is doing it right when I see after-class whiteboarding sessions. We love it when our trainees pass their certification exams, but we love it more if they are able to apply what they have learned.
Doing simple things right like having the proper and official courseware and labs and having the two monitors (one for the courseware, the other for the labs), ergonomically designed tables and chairs, go a long way to ensure a pleasant student experience.
Another thing we think a lot about is the convenience of the trainees. Is our campus easy to find? Is it accessible to public transportation? Is there enough parking? Is parking reasonably priced? Are there enough food options? Can the trainee do some shopping after their class? Does the trainee look forward to learning at the DDLS BGC campus? The decision to locate our first Philippine campus at the SM Aura Tower at BGC was a no-brainer.
We’re thankful to have the benefit of best practices from DDLS Australia who’s been the best in the business for almost 30 years. But we keep an open mind and heart to the proclivities of our Filipino customers.
In an actual customer journey map, there will be more personas and the discussion on moments of truth, perceptions, risks, and opportunities (gaps) will be more exhaustive.
Back to the audiobook: I am in chapter 7 now (or about 5 hours of Metro Manila traffic into the 9-hour audiobook), which talks about the Amanda Knox Case. It is a classic example where a person was wrongfully accused of murder because of her seemingly “guilty” demeanor. My take away from this is that people are inherently complicated, what complicates it more is when the physical evidence diverges from the perceptions of even the most seasoned investigators more so the press and public opinion.
This leads me to my final point which I feel is rarely discussed: creating and executing a customer journey map requires the emotional maturity to throw away long-held perceptions when the “physical evidence” does not align with it. It is listening intently, empathizing, and if necessary, course-correcting quickly even before negative feedback is received. It is celebrating wins knowing that the formula for winning today might not be applicable tomorrow. It is acknowledging that at least at the start, our customers will be strangers to us and we will be strangers to them.
And our objective as a customer-centric service provider is to ensure that it does not remain this way.