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Brits are known as big apologisers – a few tongue-in-cheek surveys show the average British person apologises 4.380 times a year, far more than other cultures, and as a nation we also regret it – in other words we’re sorry that we say sorry so much.

Lately of course I hear ‘I’m sorry but due to the current situation… ‘ or ‘I’m sorry but I‘m working from home’…a plethora of excuses that frankly, I’m tired of hearing!

Experiences just this week in our house include:

  • Sluggish solicitors – ‘because we’re working from home’ (it’s been a year!)
  • Appalling AA – car broke down, app didn’t work, ‘sorry there’s a glitch with the app, it’s forgotten all about you, please call this number’.. [12minutes to answer], then ‘please call a different number’
  • Toxic test and trace – so bad that our school have launched their own tracking system and app to track Covid tests. The school reporting takes about 7 seconds, the NHS one (which we have to do as well) takes over a minute
  • Bad Beryl bikes – the bike sharing app that can’t share: three different basic issues with locks and access codes across four rentals, the contact centre did eventually get me going each time but mainly told me I need to ‘get used to’ having faults
  • Dodgy direct maildrop – to our daughter from a university that’s trying to woo her. They have her full personal details from her initial application. The personalised letter has the right address but begins ‘Dear Nicholas…’

I’m sure you have your own stories. But I think it’s high time that great brands took the Pandemic Opportunity: unapologetically step back, look at the whole length of your customer experience and buyer journey from early prospects right through to your top current customers, and drive to make it ‘spectacular’, regardless of today’s realities.

Of course, that means taking what’s usually called an ‘omnichannel’ approach – great customer experience flowing seamlessly as your customer interacts and moves as they wish: with your website, your contact centre, your app and face-to-face. As you do this you may discover issues with the other vital component – your employee experience. Does the way you’re organised help your customer have a great experience? Have you really done your utmost to empower people and contact systems to deliver great service, wherever your staff are?

Forbes highlights B2B efforts around great customer experience from the insurance and manufacturing sectors, as well as from veteran software giant Adobe, which holds ‘experience-a-thons’ where frontline staff test new products and give honest feedback. The same Forbes article seems to highlight how B2B brands are realising now is a great time to invest in your wider CX. Is it time for us all to try on our customers’ shoes for a day and see where we can get better?

Come on Britain, let’s stop apologising, look again at our own CX and aim for spectacular. The pandemic gives us all the excuse for a rethink, so grab the opportunity.