Customer experience is all about people.
Customer engagement and satisfaction are great concepts, but creating outstanding customer experiences comes down to simple personal interaction and care. I recently had an experience that reminded me just how far passion and care can take you when it comes to customer experience.
Last week, I met a man named Franc Zamudio, founder and manufacturer at ModTimber, a custom reclaimed furniture design shop out here in Oakland, California. Within three days of meeting Franc, he’d built me a magnificent, custom dinner table and personally delivered it to my dining room.
Franc is a master of providing outstanding customer experience, but not because he has a sophisticated system or methodology. He’s just really good at making people happy.
Franc is very easy to like. He’s genuine, enthusiastic, and passionate about his work. He’s also easy to trust, even when you meet him at his shop in a very industrial area of Oakland, California.
When my Lyft driver dropped me off, she asked, “are you sure you want me to leave you here?!” Franc met me at the gate, where I could barely glimpse some of his unfinished furniture behind the stacks of old, reclaimed wood planks in his salvage yard. He’d been incredibly friendly and open on the phone, and even his unfinished tables looked incredible. So, I assured the Lyft driver that I was absolutely sure I wanted to be here.
He led me through the salvage yard, past pieces of an old cast-iron stove and towering stacks of weathered reclaimed wood planks. He showed me some pieces he was just beginning to make for a local startup. The tables were only frames at this point, but I’d seen the work he did for Pinterest, Wanelo, and Trunk Club on his site, so I could only imagine how cool these would look in a week.
Outstanding customer experience is about care.
I told Franc what I wanted: a small, simple dinner table measuring 5’ x 3’ and I asked him what he could do for me. He took me through all the different kinds of wood he had available, including old and new growth fir, redwood, and cedar. He asked a ton of questions about my preferences regarding table bases and wood color, grain, and texture, and he assured me that he’d limit knots and crevices as much as possible (since it was a dinner table and cracks can easily harbor bacteria).
Franc promised delivery sometime within the next week. It was Saturday and he called to schedule delivery on Monday night. By Tuesday morning, Franc was at my front door with the table.
You might be thinking that I had to pay a lot of money for service like this, but that’s not the case. The table was priced like IKEA furniture, and Franc included delivery in the price. I’m sure his prices will increase at some point, since he has to know that he does such fantastic work.
However, I bet he has no idea how amazing his service was, because he didn’t have to think about it much. It was natural to him, because Franc is a nice guy who enjoys making other people happy. He’s a natural born customer experience rockstar.
Don’t overthink it.
Franc excels at so many things that make his customer experience outstanding, but his strengths aren’t elaborate processes or engagement strategies. He performs simple service fundamentals very, very well.
He’s charming and knowledgeable. He listens to what his customers want, and he puts himself in their shoes when he designs for them (and, in my case, he built and delivered my table so fast that I did a double-take).
I’m proud to have Franc’s table in my home because it’s spectacular, and because the pride and dedication he has in his work is the best kind of contagious. In short, Franc exceeds expectations at every turn because he loves his work, and he clearly loves making people happy.
Sometimes, it really is that simple.