How to Eliminate “Experience Wreckers”

Could you possibly be annoying your clients?

Are you annoying your clients or prospects?

Recently, I was waiting for a haircut and couldn’t help but notice an annoying sound – a fuzzy, static-filled radio station. The salon was playing (well, attempting to play) music and its radio reception was terrible. In fact, it was downright annoying and distracting. I gave up trying to read my magazine and found myself thinking, Doesn’t anyone else notice this? Have the owners and employees become numb to it? They must know this isn’t good for business. Should I say something?

Why is this a big deal? A salon’s #1 job is to create an experience for its clients. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we (the clients) are taking in the sights and sounds, smells and textures of every business we enter. All these things – small and large – contribute to our experience. It’s easy to see how static-spewing speakers will make a negative impression. Problem is, many businesses don’t see these annoyances as a big deal. Some may have initially, but then become numb to the problem.


Doesn’t anyone else notice this? Should I say something?

I remember having dinner with friends on the patio of a nice local restaurant a few summers ago. We couldn’t believe how heavy and, therefore, how loud their big iron patio chairs were. Every time we – or any other patio guests – scooted our chairs in our out, it was like nails on a chalkboard. Big, heavy, iron nails. All we could do was laugh at how ridiculous – and preventable – this was. What an oversight!

Movie theaters have caught on…

What do your clients have to overcome –or endure — in order to fully experience your company and its products or services?

Take a cue from movie theater owners. They understand the seriousness of “experience wreckers.” Over the years, we’ve seen theaters become more soundproof, so you don’t hear the action thriller playing next door while you’re trying to enjoy a romantic comedy. We now enjoy an unobstructed view of the screen because the owners installed expensive tiered seating. They’ve even created clever and entertaining ways of telling us to silence our own cell phones.

Here are a few more annoyances you may have experienced for yourself:

  • A wobbly table and/or chair
  • Trouble finding a company’s phone number on its website
  • A busy front door that slams shut each time, instead of closing gently
  • A ceiling fan blowing cold air directly on you
  • An offensive odor
  • Overhearing inappropriate language from employees
  • Sun in your eyes from a poorly shaded window
  • A shrill, constantly-ringing business telephone
  • A cold rush of air every time another patron enters
  • A loud electronic door chime
  • Sticky floors
  • And, perhaps worst of all, deafening silence


What do all the above examples have in common?

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Creating The Experience

Are they buying a product, service, or … an experience?

Clyde's Tower Oaks Lodge, RockvilleThis Rockville, Md. restaurant is busy … even on the “slowest” night of the week

I’ve lived in the same area for nearly 38 years and had never known about a particular road in Rockville until Clyde’s Tower Oaks Lodge opened up. It’s completely off the beaten path and although located among office buildings, feels like a ski lodge tucked away in a vacation hotspot. The entrance to the property – a beautiful custom designed wooden archway that guides you onto the year-round porch from the complimentary valet parking stop – sets the tone. The well-manicured grounds are home to a pond complete with waterfall and misty fog. To enter the restaurant’s grand lobby, you pull on a custom-carved tree branch door handle. Opening off the lobby are several dining rooms and two spacious bars. This place has it all – consistently great food, knowledgeable service and a friendly atmosphere. The staff here truly creates a memorable experience; and the restaurant is always busy – even on Monday nights!

But you don’t have to spend millions of dollars, like the owners of Clyde’s have, to create a unique customer experience. Take, for example, [Read more…]