Episode released on: May 2nd 2022
The CX Goalkeeper had the great opportunity to interview Faran Niaz
Customer Experience Practitioner & Consultant | Top 100 Global CX Thought Leader 2021 | Helping Companies Enhance CX to Maximize ROI & 7 STAR Ratings | CEO & Founder – CX FUTURE | Int’l CX Awards Judge | Keynote Speaker
- 00:00 – 01:00 Introduction
- 01:01 – 07:41 Which is the last experience you remember? and why?
- 07:42 – 12:57 Which is the most human interaction with a company you have experienced?
- 12:58 – 16:05 Which is an interaction with a company which was perfectly supported by technology?
- 16:05 – 20:49 Which is one experience with a company you will never forget?
- 20:50 – 25:17 When was the last time you said “I want to talk with your supervisor / manager / CEO”?
- 25:18 closing
Guest’s Contact Details:
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Gregorio Uglioni 0:00
Ladies and gentlemen, today is really a big, big pleasure, I have Faran Niaz with me, and they it’s about the CX goalkeeper, but from another angle. I have a new version of the CX goalkeeper I am now speaking with that CX Legend Faran Niaz. Hi Faran, how are you?
Faran Niaz 0:21
Hi Gregorio, Very happy. Very good. Thank you very much excited to see you. And I think really looking forward to this discussion.
Gregorio Uglioni 0:24
Thank you very much. And yes, I’m also looking forward to it because it’s the first one. We also we are going also to learn throughout the discussion. today is a different setup. We are speaking about five questions, five minutes per questions, it means we will deep dive in five different topics. And it’s not about methods, framework and so on. But it’s about the real experience that Faran Niaz , as CX thought leader leader has during his life during his career. And therefore let’s start first this first question. Which is the last experience you remember? And why?
Faran Niaz 1:09
Very interesting question, Greg. I think I was thinking about this. And just yesterday, something very interesting happened. So I wanted to buy something from one of the electronic shops. And then I went online first I checked online, and this is the same shop. Can I take the names of the shops? Is it appropriate? So there is a very famous one, it’s called EMACS here, there is a shadow of DG and there is card for there are three different so I was checking their online. So this particular steam iron, which is a vertical steam iron and one of my friends actually wanted it. And I was looking at the price. So the price is let’s say, it says $200 is the price on each. I said okay, great. Why don’t if I ordered it online, it will take a couple of days to come. Why don’t I just go to the mall, that these shops are there? And I’ll go and I’ll purchase it personally. And would you believe that UAE and Dubai is passing through a very important time. Do you know what time it is? Is the Black Friday. So there are discounts discounts everywhere. I’m very excited. I drove and I went to First I went to Carrefour and I’m looking through the LEDs and find this particular model. I said, Great. I’m just gonna take it go home, no problem. When I looked at the price, I was shocked. The difference of the price from online to this one is about $150. And I say no, I can’t be right. Maybe I made a mistake. So I called this guy. And I said I’m sorry, but I wanted to purchase this. Here’s the price on your online. And here’s the price on you. But this is true. Why are you not buying online? Why are you here? Buy online. So he literally told me. He said why are you here? You should buy it online. Yes, our prices are very, very different. I said okay, let me reconfirm I went to the mall and I went to the other electronic shop Ymax. Same thing on their website, different price online, and the agents who they’re the people who are certain very nice people everywhere. I must say that these people are very nice. But they were very clear. They said yes, you’re right, we have to pay a certain amount of rent for this place. And, and I say, you know, I’m already here as a customer, this is the same shop you have. Give me the same price that you have online and I just take it pick it up. That’s it no, sorry, order it online. Now while I’m reading this, I read something very interesting on that. So there is a plank, which says the specifications of this particular product. And on top of it say Best Price Guaranteed. lowest price guaranteed. So I took a picture of it. And I went inside the manager’s room. And that’s it. Sir, can I please have a jacket said yes. Is there some problem? I said no. So I asked him a very interesting question. I said, What if I find something which is bigger price than yours? What will you give me? He said have you found something which is better price? I said yes. I found something better price than your you’re saying? If I find something, what are you guaranteeing because it says lowest price guaranteed? They said no, there is nothing we guarantee we just say that it’s the lowest so they have no plan. If for example if a customer comes and says By the way, I found something which is better priced. The immediate answer should be we’ll give it to you free or we will match the price or we will match the price so there was a plan around it. I showed him the website he said again, so sorry. No sales pitch. Anyways, I came back home and I ordered it online and while I was just starting to talk to you, the doorbell rang, and it wasn’t just delivered, delivered that equipment while I was thinking about it, and they said, when I was driving back home yesterday from the shop, and I was thinking, maybe I should write an article, and the name should be, don’t purchase electronics through the shops buy it online. The problem is not everyone is going through those two elements and checking the prices, that little people who are buying these things at a very high price. And later on, they will realize that they purchase something, which is the senator over there told me a very interesting thing as well, I separate the differences too much. I understand. Maybe $10 $2 $30. But 150. He said, By the way, it can go up to 100. And, you know, more than $200 as well, the difference of the same price. So very, very surprising. For me, it was such a strange experience.
Gregorio Uglioni 5:58
Let’s say I think this is very, very interesting. And it’s it’s quite a lot that we could discuss about it. But the thing that I will pick pick out of this discussion is what is your brand promise? And can you deliver the same experience throughout the different channels, because you went to the mall, it means you invested your time to go there, and to buy this, this electronic gadget. And therefore I’m not so sure that they are going in the right directions. And I think you did very well and you start checking the prices? And this is this is the reality, the competitors is one click away.
Faran Niaz 6:35
Yeah, I think I’ve made it a point. Now first of all, I will educate all my friends as well. You know, this is very important for people who are. So secondly, I also try to get a little bit more deeper into it. So I asked why is this case is it just only the rent? Would that can’t be the case, they said You see, we have different suppliers. For the shops, there is a different supplier. And for the online, there is a different supplier, although the brand name is the same, which to me was very surprising. Because if you’re a certain brand name, you should own everything from the customer perspective, it should be the same customers should not be impacted by the type of suppliers that you have in the back end back end. As you said, very rightfully, there is a brand promise, I if I’m dealing with a bank, if I’m dealing with an organization, I am dealing with that particular organization who they have b2b dealing with, it should not impact your b2c experience. And that’s what’s happening here.
Gregorio Uglioni 7:33
Exactly. Thank you very much for a great first short, with the first question. Let’s go to the second one, which is the most human interaction with the company you have experienced.
Faran Niaz 7:46
I can list so many of these books, I will just list a couple of couple of them. Because I think when it comes to human and it’s a such an amazing question, because it’s not about the product. It’s not about the offer. It’s not about your end to end experience. But it’s all about what you’ve asked me is about the interaction with a human being with a particular human being who does something special for you. That leaves a mark on you because of that interaction, but not because of what you purchased or what you take. I was in London, and it was pretty cold. I’m like a tourist. When I go somewhere to a country. I am like a tourist. I take my backpack about photographer app, take my equipment. So in the morning, this was my day off and the seminar was in the evening, I was on an official trip. I was staying at a hotel in in London in the centre of London. And while I’m working out the guy who opened the door for me, he said who will come soon are you going to go out for a walk? I said yes. I’m just gonna look around any particular things. You’re interested. I said, I’m gonna go to some museums and stuff. Sir. Can I make a recommendation? I said, Yeah, sure. Do you know that the prediction for today is rain during the day? May I recommend that you go back and take an umbrella? It I said I looked outside. Yes, it was bit cloudy, but I thought it can’t be but I took it as his word. I said thank you so much. He said by the way, I can help you there are some umbrellas like it are gonna go and get one for you. So he went and got an umbrella for me. Just within an hour’s time. It started pouring. And I was so thankful that I had that umbrella with me. Like imagine this guy is opening doors for everyone. Is this the door door guy and people it’s a busy place people are walking in and out. Imagine how much attention he is giving. Not just the attention, but the knowledge that he has. He’s checked today’s weather, he knows that it’s gonna rain and he’s taking care of the of the customers that coming in. So that’s one experience that I had, which I really Really?
Gregorio Uglioni 10:01
And this is a great experience and I think there we can also start speaking about empathizing with with customer. And what is your role? Are you doing only your job opening the doors? Or are you thinking about the possible next steps in, in technicality, the next best action that you can deliver? Because this was a game changing for you, you are, you have great memories about that. And at the end, it was only about giving you an umbrella that in the evening, perhaps you brought also back?
Faran Niaz 10:32
Can I just go to another one quick one, because I really liked this one. And since we’re talking about good positive things, it’s always good to to have a couple of so it was my friend’s birthday. And I had this particular perfume that she likes, which is not available on every website, but there is a particular website. Online, I ordered the perfume, and it’s clearly said that the fulfill would be delivered in two to three days. So there is a brand promise, there is a expectation for the customer that has been met, I was a little nervous because her birthday was earlier than that it was in a day’s time. So I decided to write on the website. And while I was ordering, I left the note, please, I would really appreciate, it’s about a day, if this can be delivered earlier. After a couple of hours, I get a call. And the guy said I’m calling from this is the order of this perfume shop. I read what is the case I said it’s my friend’s birthday, said if I delivery to the regular, it will take two three days because we have delivery people, you know what, I’ll come and personally deliver it too. Late Night, the doorbell rang. And I thought maybe he’s just saying it. So he asked me during her please send me your location map. I thought you know, he’s just saying it. Late night around 1130. In the evening, the doorbell rang, the local guy will study there, nicely dressed and said, my name is this. And the owner of this, I wanted to personally because I don’t want you to miss your friend’s birthday, for the gift. And by the way, just because it’s a birthday, specially I have acted. So he packed it, it was beautifully packed, which was not part of the packaging, birthday wrapped. And at the same time he left a card, which says so it was a thank you card from the company itself and says, I really thank you for being our customer. It was a pleasure serving you signed by by him. I mean, I did offer him coffee, but he had to run. But I really liked it was such a personal personal touch. And the name of this place is like it’s an online, it’s called saheeli.com. So I really appreciate that. These kinds of personal things, leave a mark on your
Gregorio Uglioni 12:48
I think what you’re thinking totally makes sense. Human beings are the game changer in our world. And they still make the difference. But now let’s let’s talk about technology, which is an interaction with the company which was perfected, supported by technology.
Faran Niaz 13:04
I’m so surprised. You know, it’s very pleasantly that your question comes right up through when I talked about human beings moving into the technology. And you know me that I’ve spoken on many forums how technology the balance between technology and humans a swim portant and empathy plays such an important part. But having said that, I think in today’s world, technology has become a must. And whoever excels in technology, is this the beat of the hour for many reasons. No, I for this thinking, probably I’m not going to quote any particular company. But I’m a big fan of the UAE government’s official websites that help you during COVID. So whenever we I’ve done multiple COVID tests, I’ve done multiple. I’ve done the vaccination as well. The websites are so amazing. The moment you have this done, you get your results, you get your whole feedback online immediately. So you don’t have to wait. Everything is up. I was an emergency and I had to travel. I told you I was traveling to backside a few days ago. And there was one form that is urgently required. I went online late night and I said I need a certain certificate for my vaccination. And within five minutes, I got a reply. And they’d set up towards attached it was auto I remembered that they picked up the title certificate without the certificate could not flow. But the technology really really supported. supported and what I liked about this, I decided to call their website is called to see how because I wanted some information about traveling. The moment to say this welcome to see how website welcome To the four star call center. The crowd is the first time I have heard technology verbalizing proudly. What how they’re rated. Because you ego bit as I probably in some of the forums I talked about it up government has run seven star itself His Highness Sheikh Mohammed plan. It’s called The Seven Star rating system so all their government offices are now rated. So this call center is rated four which is pretty good out of because seven nobody gets about six is the max organizations are getting they probably proudly verbalizing it. You know, they feel proud about it. So I think this is where technology is doing such a great job when it comes to to this part of the world.
Gregorio Uglioni 15:48
As you’re saying, I think this is exactly the perfect word technology support, great experience for human being, it helps really creating these experiences. And this there are interaction that can be automated and technology is there to support it. Now, we are coming really to the question I like the most. And this is, which is one experience with the company you will never forget.
Faran Niaz 16:17
i Yes, I think you’re absolutely right. This is a very, very important question. And I would unfortunately, the negative experiences stick to your minds always. And because they leave a much stronger mark. That’s why they say, you know, every unhappy customer goes and touches hearts of seven or eight people. There are a couple of them that I I would like to quickly talk. I was told one day I got a very interesting bill from Etihad airlines. They said, dear customer, being a very valued customer, you have one or 2000 Dirham voucher, you can go and spend it anywhere other holiday shopping. I was so happy. So I decided to go and booked into one of the very high profiled five star hotel or the pump. It’s called Tara. It’s a type list. One of the very top ones beautiful we use. I mean, if you’ve been to Dubai, you would know how the palm is. And I’m going with my family. I took a particular date, and I booked it. Now after a day it was I think it was gonna go there in four or five days time. After a day I realized I have some emergency I got go on the same day. So I picked up the phone I called the hotel and I say could you please change the date? I will come not on this particular date. But they said so sorry, this is a gift voucher. We will not change it. Because it had airline does not allow us to change. I said no problem. I picked up the phone or equality or deadlines. The call center picks up and says Who told you that? We have no issue? If the hotel is okay with it. We’re okay with it. Please ask them to mail us write to us. I call the hotel. I get the same page set. Nobody told us not to do it. So they blaming each other. I’m getting frustrated. I said Please, can you write a bill to them? Because that’s what they’re asking. Right? No problems are our right. I call back after one day I call back at the house again. Did you receive the bill? I was shocked rudely. I was told by the agent. We get too many bills. We don’t have time. When we go through all the bills. We will fight find it and then we will. We will see. I waited for another day nothing. After one more day. I called again. There was a lady. I think if I don’t if I can recall her name. I think I would be able to recall her name. It was buffer. So agent buffer. She said no problem. I’ll take the ownership. I’ll find the bill. I will do everything. Great for two minutes. I waited online for two minutes. She said I found it. Please give me your card number because there is a slight charge of changing the date. She immediately charged said I’m sending the confirmation right now please go ahead. Enjoy your vacation. Why? Why I chose this example. And I’m choosing there is a experience which I had a couple of bad experiences. But I always like when a bad experience is followed up by a service recovery that stays in your mind. And good organizations have found the formula that the customer can be angry, but one gesture can bring it back. If what’s the buffer did with me in the end took the ownership But I forgot about the previous setback. So for me, this makes such a perfect example because it started as a bad example. But because of somebody’s taking ownership and doing a service ended up as a very good example.
Gregorio Uglioni 20:13
Thank you very much, this is an outstanding story. And at the end, it totally makes sense that people are going through customer journeys, but as we are human being thing happens, and you cannot predict everything possible, but then as you as you mentioned, that service recovery is there, in order that human beings can help and support you achieving what what what what your, your target app, it totally makes sense. And I think this also is why you are spreading the word of mouth about this hotel and at and in order to ensure that this good stories get shared, and people can learn from from there. And now we are coming to the to the really last question. And I’m not sure that you are able to answer that because you are too polite and too nice with people and in, in, in business. But I asked it anyhow, when was the last time you said I want to talk to your supervisor or to your manager or to your CEO.
Faran Niaz 21:12
I think you will be well I have never in my life asked for a CEO because I actually I ignored for me if something bad happens, I take a note of it. And I take it as an example for to teach others to teach myself to learn from this experience. But I am not a complainer even if something bad happens. But once I tell you what, what happens. One time I was traveling to Europe. So I had a business class seat with me. And one of my friend he’s a celebrity from Buxton. He decided he said, I’m gonna go to Europe as well. Why don’t we take the same flight? It would be amazing. So we went to it’s an air bricks. So we went to, to the counter business counter will come soon bigger, valuable gold customer, your business. I said my friend is chatting with me. He has a economy seat. But we would like to upgrade him to to the airlines. He was a member of Skywards as well. So she checked online. She said, Oh, but he’s missing 4000 Air Miles. He has enough. We need about 30,000 He has 26,000 We’re missing 4000 Air Miles. What do what should we do? No problem, sir. Go to the counter to the cashier. Just buy 4000 air miles. It will cost you around $1,100 which is about six $700 Or maybe five? $500? No problem. So he went to be Jaitley. We bought the eight miles confirmed. Give back to the lady. Thank you very much. Yes, we have enough miles. Could you please upgrade? Sorry, sir. We don’t have any seats. What? You made us money. I was shocked. Lady, you could have told me before that you don’t have any seats. We would not have done that. She’s done. Sorry. But I just checked. Oh, by the way, I have a couple of seats. But I will not give them to you. Why? There is a possibility that some platinum customer might come and ask for a grid. But that platinum customer is not there we are here. Please serve who this. She refused. Sorry, I can’t help you. My friend was embarrassed. I was more embarrassed because then he said, leave it. It’s okay. I will see you when the equivalent no problem. So I’m dejected. I’m upset for the first time. I walked around and I said is there any supervisor around that I can talk to because I was hurt for somebody. But my friend if it was me, I probably would have you know, luckily there was a gentleman sitting in the corner. He said, Can I help you on the floor in Georgia? And I said, not a complaint? We already decided we’re going going but this is what happened. He was so upset. He said no problem. Let me check ticktick Yes, there are two seats available. Can I upgrade you guys? I said yes, please do that. Here’s your new ticket. Please go and enjoy both of you. So he’s upgraded within five minutes. And then he asked me only one question. He smiled and said, Could you just point to me, the lady who did the stream? Just point to me, I don’t want to know any. Don’t go there. Just point to me, the lady who did this thing. And I said, he said I’ll take care of it. So I don’t know what happened. But
Gregorio Uglioni 24:34
I think it’s a great story. And at the end it’s all about training and coaching and helping people and empowering people. Perhaps this lady was not empowered to upgrade you
Faran Niaz 24:45
I think ownership as well. It’s a question of empowerment. Maybe she had the empowerment, but this is a decision making. She has seats. All she has to have more empathy towards people who are standing, by the way, also realizing the fact that she’s the one who’s got Listen to this position
Gregorio Uglioni 25:02
totally makes sense. At the end, I fully agree with you she, after telling you to bind in mind, then it was required to upgrade your friend. And I hope that at the end you’re the lovely flight.
Faran Niaz 25:12
We had a great time we had, it was A380 nothing better than a business class of A380
Gregorio Uglioni 25:18
Perfect and also our journey and thank you too for using this example of traveling is also coming to an end this discussion with tech CX legend Faran Niaz. It was announced and in discussion. Thank you very much fun.
Faran Niaz 25:33
Thank you so much appreciate.
Gregorio Uglioni 25:36
If you enjoyed this episode, please share the word of mouth, subscribe it, share it until the next episode. Please don’t forget, we are not in a b2b or b2c business. We are in a human to human environment. Thank you
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