3 quick-fire customer experience questions with Nissan

Nissan’s GM Customer Quality and Training is back in the hot seat today, to answer three burning customer experience questions.

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Guillaume Langle is the General Manager – Customer Quality and Training at Nissan Europe, where he is responsible for sales and after-sales retail processes for 2100 European dealers across 22 countries. He is tasked with upholding customer service quality for Nissan Europe, leading a Pan-European contact centre in Paris.

We previously published an interview with him in which he talked about not focusing on a survey score but rather on customer satisfaction on the back of it. Today he’s back in the hot seat to answer our three quick-fire questions: What is the best experience you’ve ever received? What is the most underrated CX tool or tech? And what has been your biggest CX learning along the way?

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Zarina de Ruiter (ZDR): Welcome back, Guillaume. First off, what’s the best customer experience you have ever experienced?

Guillaume Langle (GL): Southwest Airlines in the US. I took a flight from Las Vegas to San Jose in California, and when I arrived at the airport my suitcase was broken open.

I had that case for quite some time and I was disappointed to see it was completely broken and not repairable, it was really cracked. I was really pissed off, and I went to the Southwest office baggage claim, and I said, ‘I’m really going to have a go’. I got into the office and behind the desk there was a young lady, she was probably 18 or 20 years old. It was summer and I thought, ‘that’s a summer trainee here, she’s going to say, I don’t know’.

I was anticipating a bad experience.

And when I got there and I said ‘hi’, she said, ‘what can I do for you, how are you today?’; typical Californian sort of thing. I said, ‘well, not that good. I just picked up my case and it’s completely broken’. She apologised and disappeared into the backroom. I thought, ‘now she’s going to go and get her supervisor to try and figure out something or she’s going to get some paperwork’. She comes back with two brand-new cases – a black one and a red one – and she comes around the counter and says, ‘which one do you want?’

I said ‘the red one’. She put it on the table, opened it and ripped everything off because it was brand new. ‘I’ll let you transfer all your stuff’, she said,’ and when you finish, let me know’. I transferred my stuff quietly. There was no pressure. Then she came and put her hands in the pockets inside my old case to check if I had forgotten anything.

ZDR: Very thorough.

GL: Exactly, and then she said, ‘here we go, have a nice day. We’re very sorry about what happened with your case’.

And off I went with a new case. And you know what? She didn’t even ask me for my boarding pass or my ticket.

ZDR: There was no effort on your part, she did everything. That’s excellent!

ZDR: And what’s the most underrated customer experience tool or technology, and why?

GL: Pulse surveys are a good example of something we’re succeeding in doing. And getting very quick customer feedback and being able to close the loop is something we all really need to get into.

Once known across all industries, people will know that it’s Pulse and therefore they’ll take time to fill it in, because it’s only two questions, a couple of verbatims, and you know that if you put something negative, then the company’s going to shake themselves up to fix your issue.

What I hate as a customer is when you have an issue and you use the standard customer services and you get no answer. You get carried around from agent to agent, then they tell you to go on the website, there’s nothing on the website. At the end, you’re so fed up, you go on Twitter.

Then ten minutes later you get some guy calling you and then you get the solution. The companies that do that are not genuinely occupied about fixing customer issues, they’re more concerned about their own brand. That is for me an issue. The outcome is the same, but the mentality is different.

“The companies that do that [respond only to public complains] are not genuinely occupied about fixing customer issues, they’re more concerned about their own brand.”

ZDR: What is the initiative or customer experience strategy that you’ve implemented and you’ve seen the most success from that other people might be able to learn from?

GL: On a daily basis, it’s improving very simple things on the retail side to make the next customer walk in and not have the same pain point as the one that walked out before.

If you take a new car delivery, for example, usually you will get a salesman promising carpets, and when you get your car delivered, there are no carpets because there’s no process for the guy to put the carpets in. If you fix that, then you’ll never get another issue.

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ZDR: They need to fix it for all your future customers as well.

GL: Exactly, and it’s the number of customers that are frustrated because they were promised carpets. It’s peanuts, it’s €30, but it’s the promise they were given.

You can fix it by putting in a process so that every time a car’s delivered there’s a floormat, and then the next customer walking in doesn’t have a problem.

ZDR: It’s learning about the past issues that may have been raised.

GL: Super simple.

ZDR: So what has been your biggest customer experience learning in your career to date?

GL: It’s important that executives and people that work in large corporations meet customers. That’s something that we are engaged in now: spending half a day at the call centre listening to customers is part of our induction for new employees; they come in and they spend half a day listening to customers.

As we say in the business, the workshop or the showroom is where the action takes place, that’s where things happen. It’s important to go there. You get too many people sitting in the nice buildings creating strategies that fit in a PowerPoint slide and then not really taking the pragmatic approach of talking to people. This is something we should put back.

“It’s important that executives and people that work in large corporations meet customers.”