I was very excited about my two week vacation this year - I got to go back to Europe. Specifically, London, Florence, and Rome. Going back to London was just a bit like going back home, after living there for five months. I know how the city works, the easiest ways to get around, and the areas I want to see. So I didn't really rely on locals to help me get around. My "customer experience" in London was really rather independent.
I had never been to Florence before, and only visited Rome for a few days in the past. So I was more eager to interact with the locals and figure out where I was going.
We at CS3 have been highly focused on the customer experience for the last few company retreats, so it is constantly in my mind now. On this trip, of course, I experienced both the good and bad of the customer experience. Europe doesn't exactly have the best reputation in regards to customer service. But there were a few experiences I had that were great that really stood out. My favorite happened in a market.
I have been learning Italian for the last six months and was hoping to practice. When my friend and I walked into a market, I started asking about prices and looking at items. I steered away from the pushier sales people, whether or not they responded in English or Italian. But the lady I ended up buying from was the most patient with me, understanding my attempts in broken Italian to avoid all use of English. She wasn't constantly attempting to haggle, but she stood and listened to me, and repeated back what I was attempting to say in a way that made a bit more sense.
Sometimes, all it takes for a great customer experience is for the customer to be listened to. I don't remember the woman's name (she was speaking a bit fast until she realized my Italian wasn't all that great), but I definitely remember the smile on my face after my first completely-Italian shopping interaction!