I’ve recently experienced what it’s like to be demoted as a customer.  I used to receive special-status treatment at the local optometrist office.  The doctor and staff always made me feel special when I walked in.  They knew my name.  They seemed to go out of their way to chat, ask about the kids, and compare notes about being a hockey mom.  I could send my teenage daughter after school for an appointment, and they would trust that I’d be in the next day to pay for the services.  And the best perk, I could send my husband in, knowing they wouldn’t let him leave with a bad pair glasses!

But here’s the thing that changed.  They’ve grown.  They have new staff, and apparently, new policies.  They no longer know me when I walk in.  I am now required to give a credit card prior to taking home sample frames (in the event I don’t return them within 5 business days).  They call my house asking for “Mrs. Leach”.  It seems I need to re-explain my daughter’s declining vision and why I need to come every three months.

Businesses that are growing experience many growing pains.  Management focuses on the nuts and bolts of the operation, such as production, marketing, and sales strategies.  The customer experience often gets overlooked.  Sure, as a customer, there may be more products from which to choose.  There may be more employees to provide service.  But how has your company growth affected the customer experience?  Are you paying attention to those details that make customers feel special?  How are you maintaining customer relationships?

As you navigate future change (or likely current change), put the customer experience at the forefront of your thinking.  Think about the customer journey.  Develop a cross-organizational strategy, create customer-friendly processes, and equip your teams with the skills and tools to deliver an amazing and special experience.