Task Versus Experience: A Customer Service Case Study

I was conducting a client service seminar for a law firm recently and one of their attorneys shared a story that illustrates the difference between completing tasks and creating customer experiences. I shared a post about tasks and experiences last week, and this is a perfect example of the concept.

At the time of the story, this attorney was working for UPS in their legal office. They were receiving proposals from several law firms for a sizable project, and one of the leading contenders completed a thorough and well-drafted proposal. Wanting to ensure that it arrived on time the firm overnighted the proposal to UPS. Unfortunately, whoever sent the package sent it via FedEx. Needless to say, UPS did not award that firm the project. I’m sure their rationale went something like; “If that’s the attention to detail we can expect, no thanks.”

I’m sure the firm’s attorneys spent a lot of time and effort to craft a proposal that precisely met UPS’s needs. I know the hours of research, writing and rewriting that go into submitting a significant proposal. The person sending the proposal, however, saw the job of sending it as a task – something to be checked off as completed without much thought. He/she certainly didn’t think about the client experience. A two-minute, mindless blunder wiped out weeks or months of work.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of completing tasks. But when we put a face to the work; if we truly think about the customer or client on the receiving end of our work, we start to think about experiences.

I’ll end this post with the same question I asked last week: Are you completing tasks or are you creating experiences?