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Remarkable Customer Experience, Pike Place Fish Market Style

Posted by Christine Whittemore on Jun 11, 2012 9:45:00 AM

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Pike Place Fish Market

Pike Place Fish Market has spawned (!) at least two different motivational approaches for delivering a remarkable customer experience.  One has to do with Flying Fish Presentations; the other with the Fish! Philosophy which Sandy Smith [whom you may remember from Getting More Customers By Articulating Expectations: Sandy Smith] described during a presentation to NTCA 5-Star Contractors.

Pike Place Fish Market Inspires Fish! Philosophy

According to the Fish! Philosophy, you're able to build strong relationships with customers [and employees] by knowing how to play, being there for customers, making customers' day and choosing your attitude

Sandy Smith described the Fish! Philosophy during a discussion on motivation and leadership. For anyone dealing with customers, your customer experience is only as good as the last employee interaction. If employees aren't energized and fully engaged in delighting customers, there's no chance of creating a remarkable customer experience.

[Sandy brought up data from the Gallup organization about engaged employees. The latest data indicates that 30% of employees are engaged, 51% not engaged and 19% actively disengaged. Frequently, the weak link isn't the person, but rather the process or system which allows weakness and disengagement to happen.

In today's environment, we learn more from the kayaker than the sailor how to fail gracefully and recover quickly. Success comes from intense and ongoing communication with the members of a team. Training should be ongoing without being rushed. The team should regularly discuss, debrief, have conversation to learn from each situation [i.e., each new set of rapids]. The debrief process is a learning experience that makes possible the next level of complexity.]  

Leadership Sets Tone for Remarkable Customer Experience

Ultimately, the quality of the customer experience we deliver comes from the tone set at the top of the organization. That's why it's so important to have in place strong leadership which identifies for the organization:

1. Purpose/mission: why do we exist?

2. Goals/direction: where are we going?

3. Role/clarity: what's our role?

4. Feedback: how are we doing?

5. Support: where can we go when we need help?

6. Rewards: what's in it for each individual?

A World Famous Customer Experience Defined by Pike Place Fish Market

Going back to Pike Place Fish Market, if you read through how they became world famous, you'll notice "The first step for us at Pike Place Fish was to decide who we wanted to be... world famous".

The next step was defining the meaning of "being world famous... For us it means going beyond just providing outstanding service to people. It means really being present with people and relating to them as human beings. You know, stepping outside the usual "we're in business and you're a customer" way of relating to people and intentionally being with them right now, in the present moment, person to person. We take all our attention off ourselves to be only with them...looking for ways to serve them. We're out to discover how we can make their day. We've made a commitment to have our customers leave with the experience of having been served. They experience being known and appreciated whether they buy fish or not. And it's not good enough just to want that - it takes an unrelenting commitment. We've made it our job to make sure that experience happens for every customer." To us, being ‘World Famous' is a way of being. You can't manualize it. It gets created by each one of us, newly every time. It comes out differently for different people. It also depends on who the customer is...how they react. It's about taking care of people. We're always on the lookout for how we can make a difference in people's lives."

Remarkable Customer Experience is About Motivated People Delighting Customers

What I find so remarkable about this is the focus on people, and creating individual remarkable experiences based on human interactions [not too different from Social Media: Corner Grocer Style]; it's passion come to life through fun, focus, humility, teamwork and a desire to delight people. It's the equivalent of Zappos' Customer Experiences that Wow, Zappos Embodies Customer Service and Zappos and Service

How do you create remarkable customer experiences?

Topics: customer experience, innovation

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