When you create experiences that customers truly enjoy and remember—they will reward you for it.
Make a search on the internet and you’ll find that customer experience is a trending topic. Everywhere you look—from corporate websites and blogs to national institutions and governments—it seems everyone is talking about customer experience management.
Organizations are waking up to the fact that by providing experiences that customers truly enjoy, customers will pay more, come back often and tell others about you.
According to Right Now’s Customer Experience Impact report:
– 86% of happy customers were willing to pay more for their experience;
– 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience;
– 50% of consumers gave a brand one week to respond to a question before they stopped doing business with them.
Yet despite all this, do we really have an understanding of what makes a truly memorable customer experience? And more importantly—do we know how to deliver it?
Here are six steps to help you deliver the best customer experience and gain loyal customers.
1. Have a vision
Based on feedback and input from your customers, employees and leadership, create a vision of the ideal customer experience. Put pen to paper and produce a written vision statement that is both inspiring and real. As a leader, bring life to your vision by living and breathing it on a daily basis.
2. Focus on customers first, products second
Rapidly increasing competition among existing suppliers of products or services and lower barrier to entry for new players have resulted in massive customer choice. By focusing on your customers’ wants and needs you will be able to design and customize products that fit with your customers’ overall desired experience.
3. Hire people with a service mindset
Getting folks on board with the right attitude lays the foundation for creating client centered interactions. The old saying: Hire the Smile – Train the Skill is absolutely true when it comes to hiring your team of superstars.
4. Consistency is key
If you aspire to creating an unforgettable impression of your band in your customer’s mind, consistency is crucial. Customers want great service each and every time they deal with you. Confusion ensues when customers are treated really well some of the time, and their existence is hardly acknowledged at other times.
Inconsistent customer service has a negative impact on customer loyalty. Doubt is put in to the customers’ mind and they may very well move to a competitor “just to see” how they perform. According to the American Express Global Customer Service barometer, 59% of unhappy customers will try out a new brand or company for a better service experience.
5. Create great employee experiences
Outstanding employee experiences such as those provided by Apple translate into outstanding customer experiences. Shop floor employees, or “Geniuses” as they are called, understand how their ability to engage with customers is a critical part of Apple corporate culture. Of course, customers benefit from this in the way they are treated. Keeping employees engaged and delighted is directly transferred to external customers purchasing Apple products.
6. Play the game
According to Gartner, only 1% of organizations have the business processes in place to provide a consistent user experience across all departments and channels, leaving thousands of unresolved cases, tickets, and support questions unanswered. Gamification (defined by Wikipedia as “the use of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts in order to engage users”) is being introduced by some forward thinking companies to rectify this.
Computer games such as Badgeville’s Customer Excellence solution are utilized to engage employees and make serving customers fun. They are even being used to enhance the customer experience. It’s an innovative strategy for businesses – providing employees with entertainment in a fun, competitive way and increasing the level of interaction with customers.
When you create experiences that customers truly enjoy and remember—they will reward you for it. As we have learned, happy customers are loyal customers who are willing to pay more, come back often and tell their friends—three very good reasons why you should deliver the best customer experience.
About the Author
Ian Miller is Editor of Customer Service Manager Magazine – the leading resource and community for customer service professionals.