God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen
God save the Queen,
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.
Since 1744 that song has been at the heart of the English/British nation as an anthem – which is nearly 300 years.
Already this summer I have heard the strains of the National Anthem many times and British Olympic hopes mean that I hope to hear it many times more.
To some extent I can’t get tired of hearing it. There is something about its monotonous repetition that is soothing.
What I don’t understand is why the customer service industry hasn’t learned that lesson. The anthem stays constant across the decades and it is that constancy that gives a sense of national strength and pride. Why can’t we deliver customer service with the same sense of monotonous repetition?
Some of you will already be trying to pick a hole in my argument. You might say, but the anthem has changed! It last changed 60 years ago. It changed from “God Save the King” to “God Save the Queen”. My response would be, you are missing my point.
The gradual evolution of the anthem, the fact that I know what it will be tomorrow, regardless of who is on the throne, in the same way that generations have, is what makes it familiar.
How many companies can claim the same thing? How many companies can GUARANTEE that the service experience that you will receive tomorrow will be the same as it was yesterday?
People used to ask me why I flew across the Atlantic with American Airlines. They would complain about the service being terrible and the food being bad etc etc. My response would be that at least it was consistent. Sometimes when I flew Virgin it would be amazing, sometimes it would be terrible. I just want it to be the same. Monotonously Repetitive.
Often, customer experience teams are looking to create something amazing, a wonderful experience. Just creating something monotonously mediocre is an amazing achievement. Something that is so good that it will be replicated for years, maybe decades to come.
Is the British national anthem the best in the world? I don’t know, I am not a musician. Is it the oldest? I don’t know. Has it been around for nearly 300 years? Yup. That’s good enough for me.
So the next time you are thinking about building a customer service experience, don’t think great, think OK, but repeatable. Trust me, it isn’t easy to do.
Ian Hughes is the CEO of Consumer Intelligence, a market research company that is dedicated to helping its customers make intelligent decisions using the best possible insight.