Today marks the 6th annual CX Day, a global celebration of exemplary customer experience and the professionals who make it happen. To honor these CX stars, we spoke with some from the biggest brands around the world to find out what they love most about helping their teams deliver a great customer experience.
Rich Modjeski | Director of Operations, Culver’s
Years of CX experience: 30
What is your customer experience mantra? Every guest leaves happy
What do you love about working in the customer experience field? I love to surprise guests with a great experience, but I really dig it when one of our team members understands and delivers a remarkable moment of kindness—it happens often, and it always slaps a grin on my face.
What do you believe is the next big thing in CX? Making the most of a greatly reduced interpersonal experience—drive-thru, mobile, delivery, and kiosks are what guests are choosing in larger numbers. The little bit of face time we get with the guest will be of great importance.
What is your favorite customer "surprise and delight" story? A guest visited one of our locations and placed a large order for pick-up. Our team missed one meal—it was bagged separately and overlooked when the rest was packaged. Naturally, the guest who placed and paid for the order was the person missing his dinner, and he called to complain. He said something along the lines of, “Of course your fast-food joint screwed up my order. I never should have come there. I should have gone to a real restaurant where professionals work.”
The owner of the restaurant took this call and asked the gentleman for his address. The guest told the owner to keep his free ice cream, assuming that we intended to mail a coupon. The owner persisted and got the address. The owner remade the missing meal, prepared a variety of other menu items including a sundae bar, and drove to this gentleman’s house. He was allowed in, set up the food, and built custard desserts for all in attendance. That owner cemented lifetime Culver’s fans with his gesture and continues to operate a successful and growing business.
Samantha Kerick | Guest Experience Manager, Wingstop
Years of CX experience: 12
What is your customer experience mantra? The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you wish to be treated
What do you love about working in the customer experience field? I genuinely love interacting with guests. Although not all interactions are easy, you will have the opportunity every day to build positive relationships with those who love the brand and to leave a lasting impression on those who aren’t yet loyal followers.
What do you believe is the next big thing in CX? In the industry, most times we use CX data to fix an issue rather than be proactive. I think the next big thing in CX will be to utilize feedback from all channels to understand the guest and preemptively create personalized guest experiences.
What is your favorite customer "surprise and delight" story? Oftentimes I have the ability to interact directly with our guests when they contact our corporate office. A few months ago, I spoke with a guest who had quite a challenging experience at one of our locations. She genuinely was upset as she was quite a frequent guest. I assured her this would not happen again and offered to send a gift card so that she may enjoy a meal on us.
The guest was extremely grateful and shared that she was really craving the Lemon Pepper wings and wanted to visit the restaurant again that evening. We offer compensation via gift cards so she would have been unable to immediately use it for that order since we hadn’t yet sent it. I realized this wouldn’t make for a very positive experience, so I offered to place and pay for the order for her directly with the restaurant. She was extremely appreciative and even contacted us a few days later to share how amazing her experience was at the restaurant.
What impact does your CX program have on your organization? Our CX program is crucial to full restaurant success. Quarterly, our restaurants have the ability to achieve Top Gun status. This status consists of top scores on quality checks in the restaurant, as well as top overall satisfaction scores for the best sampling of data. This encourages the teams to consistently make the guest experience pivotal to total success.
Shianna M. Peace | Hospitality Programs Manager, Sheetz
Years of CX experience: 2
What is your customer experience mantra? TCF—Total Customer Focus
What do you love about working in the customer experience field? I love working with our store teams. There is such a sense of true purpose when a store reaches out for help to better understand what it is that our customers are dissatisfied with. The survey really provides our starting point to dig in and gather insight from our customers. Sharing the insight with stores and really learning together from our customers is a great moment.
What do you believe is the next big thing in CX? Technology will open additional channels to reach customers and learn more about their journey.
What is your favorite customer "surprise and delight" story? Hurricane Florence had a real impact in a number of our stores in North Carolina. I was overwhelmed by the true appreciation of our customers for the help of our store teams. At one point, bottled water wasn’t available at a big box retailer, and a regular stopped in to ask if our store still had water. The customer shared that not only did Sheetz have water, but also how concerned the store team was for her safety. She added that they were so helpful and even assisted her in loading the water in her car. It’s moments like this that bring Total Customer Focus to life!
What impact does your CX program have on your organization? Our program is really starting to live in all areas of our organization. We’ve started to move beyond the store-level look at the customer experience to better understand the overall Sheetz experience.
Petar Dimitrov | Data and Insights Assistant, McDonald’s
Years of CX experience: 1 + 13 years in restaurant industry operations
What is your customer experience mantra? Love our people, love our customers
What do you believe is the next big thing in CX? I believe digitalization will be the next big thing in CX—customers ordering products via face recognition, biometrics for customers, and CX sharing via video, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.
What is your favorite customer "surprise and delight" story? Our table service is a great surprise and delight for customers—especially for parents with young kids—who are able to sit down and relax while our people deliver their order to their table.
What impact does your CX program have on your organization? Our CX program is the heart of our organization. It is one of the main things we use to shape our business strategy.
Jim Thompson | VP of Operations, Chicken Salad Chick
Years of CX experience: 6
What is your customer experience mantra? Spread Joy, Enrich Lives, and Serve Others
What do you love about working in the customer experience field? The ability to create memorable experiences for our teams and guests. I believe learning is at the center of continual fulfillment. The guest experience field provides me the opportunity to continually learn from our teams and our guests, in the pursuit of creating amazing team and guest experiences. I enjoy the interactions with our teams and our guests in our restaurants.
The most rewarding part is spending time with our teams watching and experiencing their outstanding efforts in delivering our brand promise to Spread Joy, Enrich Lives, and Serve Others—while hearing our guests talk about how much they love their visit to our restaurants and can’t wait until they can return. This is what makes Chicken Salad Chick so special, and why I love this brand and being in the guest experience field.
What impact does your CX program have on your organization? The ability to validate we are delivering on our brand experience and culture in all units across the brand.
At SMG, we get the pleasure of working with these CX professionals every day—helping them shape and evolve their programs to provide the best customer experience possible. It’s an honor to partner with organizations so passionate about making their customers happy—and we strive to deliver that same great service to our clients. If you’d like to learn more about our refined approach to delivering better, actionable CX insights to fit the ever-changing needs of your industry, click here.
Ken White | Chief Client Officer