3 crucial customer experience lessons from ‘LOST’

Posted on October 23, 2013 by

OK, LOST left the airwaves before the Kardashians got famous, but the show still holds valuable lessons about how to treat your customers. It starts with trust.

A recent study by Forrester Research found only 10% of respondents trust ads. Ads are like Ben. The same study revealed 70% of us trust recommendations from people we know, like Jack. It makes total sense. Actual open human interaction builds trust and forms lasting relationships, in life and in business. And that’s where LOST comes in.


A lack of communication was the cause of almost all the drama that kept America glued week after month after year. The characters weren’t open with the other characters. They didn’t share what they knew, or how they were feeling. And they didn’t take the time to find out the same from those they were working with to survive. Which lead to the erroneous negatively biased assumptions that drove the tantalizing tensions and kept them on the island sooooooooooooooo long.

Over the life of Flowroute, we’ve fallen victim to the exact same plot. Instead of engaging customers, we pushed our views on them. When we could have built bridges, we built walls. And we forgot one important fact – we’re all human. And once we realized that, we applied three important filters to how we interact with our customers.

Assume nothing.

In the beginning, we made the false assumption that our ticket response time was good enough. We got to tickets as quickly as we could. But great customer experience needs to be built around the customer perspective. Given that we could be dealing with 300 tickets at a time, we were too slow. Our customers saw their VoIP system uptime as too important to be 300th in priority because it is. Once we were able to hear that, we expanded our team of support engineers and increased their availability to speed up the process.

Be unambiguous.

Part of our time-saving measures involved the creation of standard answers written to address common concerns. We could address tickets more quickly if we had ready-written responses. But people needed a fast resolution and they wanted the response to address their specific situation. We don’t use rapid-fire macros anymore, we respond by addressing the context of individual problems. A vague generalized response only raises more questions. And that delays resolution, which frustrates both sides. Drama and breakups ensue.

Secrets kill trust.

There are certain secrets you need to keep. But if there’s information that might help your customers understand an issue and the resolution, share it. Remember, you’re in a relationship, and keeping things from one another is a major cause of relationship failure and television ratings (just ask Jack and Kate). After recognizing customer frustration with our secrets, we opened up. We share helpful information, and we’re all a lot happier and more secure.

The takeaway.

We’ve learned we need to provide the most open customer experience we can. As a VoIP service provider, communication is our product. So we’ve taken a crazy leap and started communicating.

The action.

Every support ticket resolution email we send now gives customers the opportunity to evaluate and comment on our service. Because if we’re not getting our service right, we’re not being recommended. And if they have something bad to say, we need to hear it first. So we can fix it. To improve their experience next time, and make sure no one else experiences the same issue. We’ve even had a customer go back in and change his review to positive after we addressed his concern.

If you’ve got a spare month, watch LOST again. You’ll quickly see how an honest and open dialogue between everyone would have gotten them home a lot sooner. It can work for you too. If by home you mean a strong, loyal, and evangelistic customer base.