Features and Analysis

A simple sandwich, a whole new customer experience perspective

I was invited to a meeting this week at the office of a TM Forum member.  A couple of days before the meeting I got an email from a local deli restaurant, saying, “Paul is putting together a group lunch order and wants you to be included!”  It told me to click to accept, and had a little personalized message from Paul telling us he had taken care of lunch and this email is how we could order what we wanted.  “Wow,” I thought, “now that’s pretty cool.”

So I clicked and I was taken to a menu screen and picked my sandwich.  Then I was taken to a screen that asked me if I wanted each and every ingredient on my sandwich.  Focaccia, turkey, cheese, mayo, pesto, Asiago cheese, roasted red peppers. This was totally cool. And it kept asking – did I want chips or chips and a pickle, or baked chips instead? Did I want a drink and did I want a cookie, it asked? Then, to top it all off, it asked me my name. In about 60 seconds I had ordered my completely customized, personalized lunch.  And you know what? When I finished up my order, I sat back and thought how awesome that was.

I could imagine my sandwich, baked chips and drink showing up at the meeting – with me and everyone else getting exactly what they wanted with no day-of-meeting fuss or confusion.  And I smiled.  Then I asked myself, why do I feel so positive about ordering a sandwich?  And I decided that it was the extreme personalized nature of the whole experience.

It started with an invitation (everyone loves an invitation!) that included a personal note to me from Paul (everyone loves a personal note!) in the email. It let me totally choose everything one item at a time and then it asked my name!  I was imagining my fellow meeting attendees ordering their lunches, too, and all of our names going onto our totally personal sandwiches.  And that is just what happened.  Lunches showed up with names on and the food was distributed easily.  A totally personalized experience. Another smile.

A new perspective

We talk a lot about personalization in the customer experience world in the communications industry.  We talk about how every time the customer touches their service provider the experience should reflect everything the service provider knows about them — their history, their account, their recent activities, what phones everyone in their family has, and their good and bad quality of service, as well as predicting what might make them happy.  And funnily enough, my amazing sandwich ordering adventure gave me a whole new perspective on just how good a personalized experience can make a customer feel.  It does not have to be complicated, it does not have to cost a lot of money – it just has to make the customer feel special.

So service providers and all of the vendors who sell products that enable personalization – I want you to go order sandwiches from somewhere that has a cool custom ordering app for your next group meeting.  Get the sandwich personalization buzz that I got and then think about what little and personal things you can do for your customer to make them feel special.

Little did I know how much I would learn from ordering a sandwich.  Thanks, Paul.

The Customer Centricity & Big Data Analytics Forum at Digital Disruption 2014 (San Jose, CA, Dec 8 – 11) will provide the ideal setting for leaders in customer management, analytics, marketing and strategy to share their thoughts and opinions. It will cover the hottest topics in customer engagement as well as how to achieve an accurate 360-degree view of your customer.



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    About The Author

    VP, Services and Catalysts

    Rebecca manages key projects at TM Forum, including Customer Centricity and Big Data Analytics. Rebecca has worked in the communications industry for almost 25 years, focusing on operational and business support systems for the majority of her career.

    1 Comment

    1. Paul Ousterhout on

      Wow – all that fuss over a sandwich! The company that produced this experience clearly spent time thinking about the users of the system. Their primary focus wasn’t reducing costs or cutting corners. They weren’t caught up in the next quarterly results. What they did is to focus on the almighty customer.

      What fuss indeed? I guess the bad news is that we’re shocked when we have such a great experience.

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