I went on an ‘off road experience’ on Wednesday morning, which I fitted in on my way to the office.
So, at the appropriate time and full of anticipation, I left the house, climbed into my 4 x 4 and went through the process of selecting the ride height (this allows the car to adjust to various situations, including lowering so you can get it through an entrance height of less than 2.2 metres).
Then I turned the dial through the ride options, watching the dashboard until the correct selection appeared. I chose the picture of the car listing perilously over a rough road with a fir tree dangerously close to it.
The vehicle rose up and the suspension altered. It was the perfect setting and I was completely prepared. Now some people arrange this type of thing through their car dealer. Other people buy a gift experience pack in WH Smith or Boots.
I just took the car on the highway. Specifically the A38 near Lichfield, Staffordshire – and saved myself the cost of Land Rover’s purpose built course.
I got to experience all the same things (as I do every day) as the professional course; ruts and deep troughs on the traffic island near to Swinfen Hall Hotel and rough terrain/ gravel (where the road surface has all but disappeared). Sadly there was no water feature because it hadn’t been raining. Anyway, I have to get off the A38 and enter the village where we live for that (thanks to the enormous speed bumps, which do little to deter speed, but make for a fantastic tarmac lake whenever we have a downpour).
And this brings me to the Customer Experience.
If we were not a captive market we, as rate payers (or customers), could complain to our local Council, or the Highways Agency, and get the problem put right. If they didn’t put it right, then we would vote with our feet. But we can’t vote with our feet and so they probably won’t put it right and we will have to continue to live with the terrible experience that is driving on the UK roads.
So, with this in mind, I was delighted to arrive at the office and to take part in a Business Centre Association learning experience day with Mike Ashton of the Ashton Brand Consulting Group.
Mike Ashton from ABCG is a terrific guy who understands the real value of the customer experience. He served on the main board of Hilton Hotels for a number of years and was instrumental in driving customer standards forward dramatically, so he was well placed to deliver our course.
As expected, the day, entitled ‘Developing High Performance Managers’, was first class. It focused on being memorable (to other people and your customers – and for the right reasons) and dealt in detail with Networking, Sales and Interpersonal Relationships.
Everyone enjoyed it and I can tell you it was well worth the cost of attending and a great experience.
Some of my colleagues attended another of his courses yesterday entitled ‘Creating Amazing Customer Experiences’. The feedback from them is similarly positive.
If you have never been on any of his training sessions, or listened to him speak, or hired him as a consultant on customer relations, I urge you to do so. I have known Mike for a number of years, have heard him speak many times and have learned a great deal on every occasion.
Oh, and he is also a fellow Range Rover/Land Rover driver. So happily he stands more chance than most of getting to his next assignment without breaking an axle.
Tony Waldron is Managing Director