Tourism in Egypt used to be the country’s number one industry, as recently as 2010. Now, at the writing of this article and after the Revolution, tourism has dropped to less than half what it had been before the Revolution. What kind of customer experience insight do you presume from that?
How does a vacation to Egypt translate into customer experience insights?
Our decision to go to a country that has been a dream destination for us for decades was not made lightly. The perception of potential danger, of having a bad (maybe even terrible) experience was ever-present. Our goal was to create an experiential learning trip for our 13-year old that she would always remember. Egypt did not disappoint.
Upon arriving at Cairo International Airport, we began to experience the country in a way that was contrary to our back-of-the-mind concerns. We were welcomed enthusiastically and escorted to our vehicle. Arriving at the hotel near Giza began our time of wonderment, not only at the sight of the Great Pyramids, but with every interaction.
Throughout our travels, we were thanked for coming to their county by so many service providers on Egypt’s Tourism team – everyone from the server on the Nile Cruise to the security person at a mall, to hotel housekeeping, to shop owners, to the leader of the Sakkara rug making school, to servers in the best place to get Koshary in Cairo (Abou Tarek). They all had one purpose – to insure that we were having a good experience.
Americans bring hope
The general consensus is that Americans are the last to return to an area after security concerns so our presence was one of hope to many. It was obvious that the team was focused on our customer experience. One afternoon we were entering the Star City mall in search of a Pandora charm to represent our trip and were approached by a man. He politely asked if he may ask us some questions, all of which were aimed at gauging our customer experience. He even asked if our trip was meeting our expectations. And he wasn’t even a government official or tourism member.
He ended our brief chat by asking us to let our friends know about our trip. Would we recommend Egypt?
Social media plays an important role for Egypt, as it does for each of us and our companies. Pictures of our wonderful trip have been shared with friends on Facebook, receiving many Likes and comments about having always wanted to go to Egypt. We hope that our positive experience will add positive sentiment for Egypt’s tourism. We would recommend Egypt.
A different kind of customer experience?
While I understand that fear for your personal safety is not the same thing as the release of a disappointing product or the same as news of an e coli outbreak in a restaurant chain, but there are core components of the customer service experience that ring true. The relationships that we have with our customers must convey the feeling of being welcome and they should feel valued. We cannot wait until there is an event (or tragedy) to build this culture.
Build this strength now by focusing on employee development over feedback or satisfaction. Because when something happens to your brand, and it will eventually, your recovery will happen faster.
I enjoy working with contact center leaders to create a center that advances the organizational culture. By helping them to create an external quality monitoring program instead of the typical survey program, they are able to provide more impactful human interactions with each customer.
It’s a big value to know when and how to develop agents in ways that insure customers feel valued and appreciated. When this happens customer calls are not a burden, but rather a perfect opportunity to hone new skills.
One day, when your company tragedy strikes, a “revolution” may get in your way. But know this. Companies that are emotionally connected to their customers will survive and those with more cold and arrogant relationships with customers will die first.
Check out our pictures of Egypt. I highly recommend it.
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