A little while ago I had to get a reference check for a non-profit board I serve on. I audibly groaned at the thought, but it needed to be done.
My perception versus the reality of what occurred was night and day, in fact I could say I was delighted by the experience with the Edmonton Police Service. Who says that?
Well I do, at least for this experience. In keeping with my desire to review a business every month (I missed August) against the four stages of the Customer Journey, I thought why not review a public service? To kick-start the critique, this is my Net Promoter Score for the EPS background check:
On a scale of 1- 10; 1 being the least likely and 10 being the most likely, how likely are you to recommend this brand to friends, family and colleagues?
If you are unfamiliar with the significance of the net promoter score, read my blog here. As a spoiler, giving an organization a nine is being a promoter. Some marketers believe the NPS is the most important metric a business can measure as it clearly indicates continuance of the relationship and intent for next purchase.
How do the Police get a 9 out of ten? This is how it unfolded against the four stages of the customer journey.
Stage One Awareness/Stimulus
The experience began with a letter informing me that my board has requested a background check. The request is on file and I need to go to the listed location to get finger prints done and answer a few questions. <<<Groan>>> So I looked up the location online, found it was reasonably close to my house (in fact that was part of the process: I was assigned to a location closest to me, nice touch). I also noticed the hours were accommodating for working folks, being open early (7:00 am) and late. Immediately I was beginning to feel better about things.
Stage Two – The sale processes (or just process)
I arrived before eight and to my dismay the waiting benches were packed. I had blocked off two hours for this process and I immediately began thinking about what I would need to cancel. But I had a letter and a reference number so all I needed to do was approach a officer at a receiving station and let her know I was there. I did and she informed me I would be called in 10-15 minutes. As I scanned all the walk ins parked on the waiting benches, I immediate realized I was given priority. I felt relieved, plus she was very polite and friendly.
I settled to read some emails and was pulled out of that immersion before I would have liked in less then 10 minutes! A different officer at a different station asked several quick questions, explained how the finger printing process was going to go and asked me to sit and wait for my name to be called again very shortly.
I had barely sat down when I was called to the electronic finger print scanning station. The officer was extremely polite, again reiterating the reasons and the process. We went through the process and I was done, and thanked for my patience!
Stage Three – Follow up or after sales process
My board was informed by letter that my background check did not set off any alarm bells and I in turn was informed by them. Despite it being a background check on me, the customer is the board. The entire process of setting up the check, conducting the check and receiving the results was less than fourteen days. Rather efficient, I thought. Other board members who had gone through the process remarked on how painless (one might dare say delightful) the process was, which is evidence of training on executing repeatable processes with efficiency, politeness, and effectiveness.
Stage Four – Retention and referral
This does not really apply other than the fact that the EPS is a public service and their mandate is to serve and protect the public. If the EPS was ineffective, rude, and uncaring there would be accountability; their best review is no review. It is in their best interest to be able to serve the public quietly and effectively and this experience (echoed by others) was just that.
When I was about to walk out of the center, I looked at my watch and less than 25 minutes had gone by. I was going to arrive at work earlier than normal! I reflect on this experience with an understanding of how my default thinking created a very low expectation that was easy to beat. That said, as I diligently pay attention to customer service, it is only once and a while that I am truly impressed by a polite, genuinely friendly, client focused experience, and this was that. All the officers were extremely polite and truly wanting to put the member of the public they were serving at ease by carefully explaining the process, all the while being genuinely friendly! There were no surprises and everything occurred better than they outlined. What more can you expect from a public service?
Steve Whittington is President of Roadmap Agency Inc. He has also served for over a decade as a member of the Executive Team of Flaman Group of Companies an award-winning organization and has over 25 years of executive experience. Steve’s current board work includes serving as; President of Glenora Child Care Society; and Co-Chair of the Marketing Program Advisory Committee for NAIT’s JR Shaw School of Business. Previous notable board work included, Chair of the board for Flaman Fitness Canada, a national retailer, a Director for a meal prep internet Startup Mealife and Chair of Lethbridge Housing authority, the third-largest Social housing NGO in Alberta.
Academically, Steve was an instructor of Project Management at Lethbridge College for seven years. Steve holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree; he is a Certified Sales Professional (CSP), Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Marketing Specialist (CMS) and (CCXP) Certified Customer Experience Professional.
Steve’s first book Thriving in the Customer Age – 8 Key Metrics to Transform your Business Results teaches about the customer journey and provides a guiding framework spanning all stages of the customer experience. The book explains how every metric impacts an organization and how leaders can best utilize each metric to provide a stellar customer experience. Everyone knows the customer is the most important part of a business. This book provides the tools to improve an organization’s customer experience and drastically transform business results.
Recently Steve’s Blog has been profiled as one of the Top 75 Customer Experience blogs