Steve Ferrante's High Performance Blog for Sales/Customer Service/Leadership Champs and Progressive Professionals!

Posts tagged ‘Customer Experience’

Being Unremarkable is Bad for Business

Unless you are somehow fortunate enough to have a one-of-a-kind product and/or no competition in your market space, then being remarkable matters.

As consumers, we are constantly bombarded with advertising and marketing messages. Precious few of those messages make it through all the noise and stand out in our minds. They’re unremarkable.

As I wrote about in How to Fail in Your Business, Consumer research has shown that approximately seven out of 10 customers leave a business because of indifference. They feel like “just another transaction” and have no emotional engagement with the business.

As your potential customers shop around with very little to distinguish one business from the next, they naturally default to the cheapest price for the product or service they’re seeking. Losing on price or discounting is perhaps the single biggest consequence businesses suffer for being unremarkable.

While every business is capable of being remarkable, only a small minority actually achieve it. The majority play it safe, stick to the norm, and deliver ordinary unremarkable customer experiences.

Always Remember…

Most businesses are perceived as ordinary and this contributes greatly to the ordinary (unremarkable) results they typically realize.

The fact is, nothing perceived as ordinary is ever valued as something special.

As I wrote in Would You Buy You?, YOU have a choice in the way you perceive yourself, manage yourself and, ultimately, sell yourself to others.

So ask yourself, is our business truly remarkable? How do we look, sound and feel from the customers point-of-view? Do we stand out in a positive way or do we simply blend in and fade away as just another (fill in your business type) in our market?

Here’s a great example of a business (Ember) that is standing out with not only an innovative product but a remarkable ad for that product.

At the end of the day, a business’s success is largely determined by it’s ability to stand out from it’s competitors and attract more customers. Being unremarkable just won’t cut it.

Make a Great Day!


Seeking a remarkable sales strategy, customer experience model, and/or workplace culture? I can definitely help you! Contact me direct at

The Best Customer Experiences are Positively Memorable

Hi All,

Like the heading reads, the best customer experiences are positively memorable.

As an example, think you’d remember this service with a smile?

Obviously, there’s an element of danger with her steaming liquid pouring presentation. You could say the same of the fire & knives show put on by Japanese restaurant chefs… it’s all about mastering your craft and enhancing the customer experience!

For more on in importance of creating positively memorable customer experiences, read my Selling Smart article here > Five-Star Mediocrity

Make a Great Day!


Le Petit Chef and the Positively Memorable Customer Experience

In the article,Customer Satisfaction Doesn’t Count,” the Gallup Organization stated that “if you do not make an emotional connection with customers, then satisfaction is worthless.” Their research proved that customers do not buy strictly for rational reasons and that, from a results standpoint, it is much more important to engage customers on an emotional level. 

The fact is no one remembers an ordinary transaction and they certainly don’t share them with their family and friends. They do remember extraordinary interactions and experiences. In this sense, creating a positive memory is the ultimate emotional connection!

We’ve all been there..

You’re at a restaurant with your family and/or friends. You just finished dinner and order dessert and perhaps a coffee. Then you wait and, sure enough, 10 or so minutes later your dessert arrives. Nothing special or particularly memorable about that. Enter the fine folks at Skullmapping..

From their website: 

At Skullmapping we create projection mapping projects, VR experiences and holograms. Our passion is to develop stories and present them in a new way, in order to surprise our audience. We love to experiment with the latest technology, and push beyond what has been done before.

And so now you’re in a delightfully different restaurant waiting for dessert and this happens..

I bet you and your family and/or friends would remember that!

While you may not have the capability to utilize virtual reality in your business as spectacularly demonstrated here, the concept is the same. To stand out and above your competition, you must strive to create positively memorable experiences for your customers!


Make a Great Day!


Want to create true emotional engagement and positively memorable experiences for your customers? I can absolutely help you! For details and contact info click-on > Sale Away LLC.

Customer Disservice Lesson from American Airlines Seat 36F

When Your Business Fails At Customer Service

I’m typing this latest case of customer disservice from seat 36F on American Airlines flight 226 from Boston’s Logan Airport to Dallas en route to Tulsa.

For those of you not familiar with this seat on AA 757 I can tell you first hand that this is the proverbial “back of the bus”, the very last seat in the very last row.

AA Back Row

Of course, on a full flight (like this one) someone needs to sit way back here in the corner but, given my situation, should that someone be me? You decide…

Let me start by saying I try and avoid American Airlines and usually fly one of my recommended “customer service champs” like Jet Blue, Southwest or Virgin Atlantic but, on this trip, none of those options were available.

Besides it’s been awhile since I’ve flown with American… maybe they’ve improved since the last time when my flight was delayed an hour and 45 minutes and no one seemed to care or even acknowledge that I then missed my connecting flight and spent about four extra hours at Chicago Midway waiting for the next flight.

Or maybe it’s just business as usual…

My saga began at the ticketing check-in kiosk when I attempted to print my boarding pass but instead received a slip that read “no seat assignment available”. Taking this slip to the ticket counter to check my garment bag, the agent informed, “they’ll assign your seat at the gate.. let them know you have a connecting flight and they’ll try and sit you close to the front”.

Shouldn’t they know (at the gate) that a customer with no seat (me) has a connecting flight and make the appropriate seating arrangement without that customer having to provide instructions?

In any event, I left the ticket counter feeling like I didn’t have a ticket to ride because, at this point, I didn’t. Instead of the sit down lunch I had envisioned I now made my way from security straight to the gate where I stood in line behind 10 or so other customers, presumably some also dealing with the same situation as me.

15 or so minutes later I was face-to-face with the gate agent explaining my presence there. The woman, let’s call her Mabel, told me in a very matter of fact way, “we’re overbooked.. still can’t assign you a seat.. I’ll call you before we board with something”.

Remembering my message, I responded “I have a connecting flight in Dallas to Tulsa.. the ticket agent told me to let you know so you could try and sit me close to the front”.

“I’ll do my best Mr. Ferrante”, Mabel said as she read my name off the slip.

So I left the gate counter still with no ticket to ride and thinking about what Mabel’s “best” would be as I stood in line to grab a Tuscan Pesto Chicken sandwich to take on board.

It’s worth noting that this is not the first time this has happened to me and surely many frequent flyers (perhaps you) have experienced this “no seat” dilemma as well.

Not long ago, this happened on an Air Canada flight from Toronto back home to Boston. On that flight they upgraded me to Business Class and I enjoyed priority boarding, a complimentary cocktail and a moist warm hand towel. Quite a difference, eh? (purposeful Canadian reference). Indeed. Air Canada turned an inconvenience into a most pleasurable and rewarding experience.

I returned to the gate ( sandwich in tow) as they were calling out names with seating assignments. Sure enough, five or so names in they called me. Mabel handed me the boarding pass nonchalantly saying “36F”.

I took the ticket and the seat location didn’t fully register as I walked away. Then they started boarding… Priority seating, families with small children, first class, business, ruby, gold then Group 1, Group 2, people who love wind chimes, then me in Group 3.

Midway through Group 2 boarding they made an announcement that the flight was sold out and on board storage space was limited so folks with carry-ons (like me) should check them at the gate. So I stood back in line again… this time determined to ask Mabel about my curious seating assignment.

Maintaining professional composure, I questioned Mabel “You had told me that you would do your best to get a seat towards the front of the plane so I could get off quickly to catch my connecting flight… I think I’m at the back?”

No reply.. Mabel just stuck her hand out like she was receiving a summons to appear in court. Looking at the boarding pass she said, “this should be fine.. we’re only running about 9 minutes late”.

As we prepared for take-off the captain came on and announced, “we’re running about 20 minutes late”.

Sure enough, we touched down 22 minutes late. By the time I deboarded as the very last passenger I had to scurry through the terminal to make it to my connecting gate just as they were beginning to board. 

Does AA have to provide a first class experience for inconvenienced customers (in this case, me) to be happy? Not necessarily, but several options presented themselves during my flight.

They showed a movie on the flight and announced “as always our in-flight entertainment is free”. Moments later, they came down the aisle selling headsets for $6.00. Apparently, it’s the watching part that’s “free”, hearing is $6.00. Then there’s that “enjoy WiFi on this flight” announcement. They left out the $15.00 an hour part I discovered trying to connect.

This would be a great value-add for all but, to stay on point, what if they made exceptions and gave passes to folks that have, up to this point, had a less than a pleasurable experience?

How about a free cocktail or, better yet, a voucher for a discount towards a future flight?? Surely that would help alleviate the pain, something my non-reclining up-against-the-back-wall seat failed miserably at doing.

One thing is clear, American Airlines does not effectively train customer service or understand that the customer experience is not getting a passenger from point A to B. Any airline can do that. It’s what happens from point A to point B that matters most. Until they figure that out and make customer service/customer experience part of their culture, they will continue to alienate customers and lose business to the airlines that do. 


* On LinkedIn @ Customer Disservice Lesson from American Airlines Seat 36F

Steve Ferrante is the CEO & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For more information on Steve and Pinnacle Performance services for your team visit

WestJet’s Christmas Miracle!

Originally posted last year but well worth seeing again…

As someone who frequents airports for travel all over North America, I can testify that there is typically not a lot to be jolly about as a customer of most airlines during the holiday season. Long lines, delays, vanishing luggage, seemingly careless employees and crowds of uptight folks are enough to make any elf feel “Bah Humbug”. 

Of course, some airlines are better at managing the customer experience than others and it’s usually far more pleasant to be a passenger on one of these ‘customer service champs’ if you can help it.  Canadian airline WestJet is one such airline and, as shown in accompanied video, their recently executed “Christmas Miracle” is nothing short of spectacular.

Without giving the ‘miracle’ away before you view the video, I must say WestJet does a remarkable job here at demonstrating the difference between a simply great customer experience (with passengers at the Hamilton International Airport) and one that goes over-and-above and is truly extraordinary (with the same passengers landing in Calgary).

Of course, CX critics will argue that the whole performance is nothing more than a marketing gimmick as true customer experience is not something that happens as an ‘event’ like this but rather throughout the company on a day-to-day basis. There is truth to that but it is also true that companies that do not have great customer-focused cultures do not even think of doing things like this – much less carry them out. 

I hope WestJet’s performance restores your faith in humanity, warms your heart and inspires you to improve your customer experiences this holiday season and beyond.

Cheers to WestJet and Happy Holidays To All!

Steve 🙂

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