What creates an average customer experience versus a 'raving fan' customer experience? I recently tried out a new spa making an appointment for a long overdue manicure. The setting was lovely, the tea was good and the experience was going well; nice hand massage followed by a lovely paraffin treatment. I was relaxed, enjoyed being pampered until the technician asked for payment half-way through the manicure. She said it was to make sure I didn't smudge my nails. (I'm thinking it was to make sure I didn't walk out without paying.) So there I am, hands oiled, trying to hold a pen and sign a credit card form. And come to think of it, don't you wait until the entire service is delivered to figure out the amount you want to tip? The spell was broken and so is my desire to return to this spa. The spa's desire to be efficient about collecting money accomplished a short term gain of a deposit and lost the long term gain of a client.
Take a look at your systems and processes. While they may improve efficiencies, are they taking away from the client experience? A modern day example are 'phone trees.' How many of you would pay money just so you could talk to a live body versus dialing 15 extensions to reach someone who can be of real assistance. Yes, phone trees are efficient, however they do nothing to build relationships and raving fans. One of my clients, who is a leader in their industry, insists on a live person answering the phone before three rings. It's always a treat to call this organization because there is a warm, receptive human being on the line willing to help you.
Remember, processes are efficient. Relationships and people are not.