At 87 my mother has passed her most mobile days and was struggling to get up and down stairs. Being fiercely independent she will be staying at home whatever happens and so my siblings and I needed a solution to the barrier that the stairs presented every day. However the idea of a stair lift was not greeted with the enthusiasm we had expected and so we were on the back foot from the very start of our particular customer experience and whoever was going to supply us had two very different customers – My Mother and her offspring!
Our experience began with a natural search on line. This revealed a number of thing to me. If your website looks rubbish you don’t get beyond first base, even if you are a “family business established 50+ years ago and have developed a caring way of working with great values” as with many of these sorts of searches one defaults to the bigger players and a number of comparison sites. So we got our short list - Stannah , Acorn, and a local company we had brought other equipment for Mum from. Next we checked them out with friends in similar situations and Acorn shone through from everyone as being head and shoulders the best, because of how they made our friends feel.
Making contact with them only reinforced the perceptions. I called on a Friday afternoon and had a lovely calming chat with a lady on the other end who took some details and then asked of we would like someone to “pop round and see your mother” the following day, a Saturday. The next day I met a very nice chap who could not have been further from a sales man if he tried. He chatted us through the options, measured up and even won over my mother with his charm and very gentle approach to our issue. He had driven from North Wales to Knutsford just for this meeting and made us all feel very special and that this was a very personal visit. He also told me that Acorn were the market leaders in terms of sales volume, which surprised me as they had such a personal touch and not “we are the biggest” attitude.
The price was agreed, no discount but having checked pricing on line it was very much in the ball park of expectation, and a fitting date was agreed with the engineers assistant, it’s a Saturday don’t forget, to be confirmed on Monday morning.
Monday came and I got the call at 0930 and the conversation was exactly the same tone as all the other conversations I had had with the Acorn people.
4 days later a very nice man acme and fitted the device, that had been specified for mum’s rather unique staircase, no mess made and all running beautifully 1 and a half hours after arriving. Seamless.
None of what we experience was an accident. Each touch point was beautifully designed to move us to a decision quickly and efficiently. People were central to the whole experience but their digital touchpoints were very impressive, showing a great insight into the two different customers they have – the buyer and the end user. It was clear that everyone we dealt with shared a common vision and had very similar values so they obviously have a strong, natural talent management team.
Through the process they talked about price very openly but they also talked about technical innovation and advantage at the same time so even though we did not have a haggling stage we still felt we had excellent value for money.
It really was an irresistible customer expereicne and given I will not be buying another for a long time they seemed to instinctively know that they were seeking recommendation and not repeat sales…..