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A “Just Ok” Customer Experience? How Could That Be?


SLOW DOWN! Reflect on the art & on your customer service!


Art teaches us! Everyone is still talking about their experience and the comment I hear the most is “IT WAS JUST OK”.  We can’t imagine that customer experience management could be more complicated. One road block replaces another. All that effort for “Just Ok”?

The same happened with the Christo and Jean-Claude 14 day exhibit called “Wrapped Reichtag”. Starting in 1971, Christo struggled to get approval and complete it which didn’t happen till 1995. Same with us today and service. I guess the lesson to learn is to keep trying. Find the customer experience that is above “JUST OK” while you figure out the next strategy.

Let’s talk about

  • Christo’s art and specifically “Wrapped Reichtag”
  • Roadblocks today and keeping above the “JUST OK” comments

Christo’s Challenges with the Wrapped Reightag

Christo, known for his temporary wrapped artwork, left a legacy of perseverance and beauty. His art projects are only available for 2 weeks and are always a challenge. In the Guardian article “How We Made The Wrapped Reichtag” by Jonathon Jones, February 7, 2017, Christo talked about all the challenges he faces with his attempt to wrap the Reichtag building in Germany:

  • 24 years – To get approval for the project he negotiated for over 24 years
  • 6 Presidents – Tried to convince over 6 different Bundestag presidents
  • 3 rejects – And was rejected 3 times
  • 700 page permit – The permit document was over 7000 pages long
  • $15 million – Once finally approved, it cost $15 million dollars which he funded himself
  • 100 Mountain climbers – Over 100 mountain climbers were used instead of cranes and scaffolding.
  • 14 days – Christo only kept his shows up for 14 days. My fave? The Floating pier, Brescia, Italy

Just like Christo, we are experiencing an endless list of issues to overcome and still improve the customer experience. Maybe this artist can inspire us!

Endless Roadblocks and Rising Above a “Just Ok” Customer Experience

I don’t’ need to tell you the list of roadblocks:

  • Virus Lasting Too Long – The Covid Virus itself and now the Delta version
  • Changing guidelines -Pandemic management and the vaccine
  • Staffing – Employees hesitant to return to work and their safety
  • Inventory/Inflation – Lack of Supplies and inflation
  • Shift to Technology – Moving to new technology, shifting from staff to automation and online

If you listen, even with herculean efforts, you can still here people saying “it was just ok”.

Just like Christo, you just can’t give up.

  • Mean it! – Believe that great service and your team are important! But really mean it! That firm belief will permeate every decision and every customer interaction.
  • Tell customers service will be slow – When in Atlanta, the busy restaurant said that service will be slow. So, we knew to place orders quicker, and be patient. Just let your customers know.
  • Tell them you have to find your own ride home – I am dropping off my car tomorrow morning after waiting 2 weeks to get in to have a problem checked. I had to call to reconfirm and I had to ask if they still provided rides home. The answer was no so I’ll Uber it. Just tell your customers as they make their appointment. Don’t make them ask.
  • Connect all strategies!!! Move fast to new customer journeys but don’t just be focused on products/sales. Make sure your online flows give customers what they want not just what marketing thinks sells. Connect it back to what customers want! Get their questions answered first!
  • Encourage just common easy conversation – With teams doing the best they can, do what you can to encourage common nice customer interactions – thank you for calling, thanks for stopping by, can I help you with anything else…. Any of the above. Just a few kind words goes a long way!

As we continue to ramp up, resilience will be key just like Christo with his enormous project! Hope you can avoid the “just ok” comments and you press on! Best of luck! Mary Furrie, CEO, Furrie Consulting.

Photograph – Reinhard Krause/Reuters in The Guardian