How's this for a customer service strategy: Instant Gratification.
I'm not talking just at the end of the transaction — think instant gratification at every step of the way. During the customer experience there are multiple touch points, or moments of interaction with the company's employees, website or product. The goal is to make every aspect of the experience an opportunity to deliver instant gratification.
The idea of providing instant gratification throughout the customer experience is a concept that evolved from a conversation I had with Frank Jacobs, the founder and CEO of Falcon Products, a company that makes table bases. At one point, if you were seated at a restaurant anywhere in the world, it was very likely that the table base was produced by Falcon. And much of the company's success was a product of Frank's enthusiasm for the customer.
Frank, who has since retired, always believed that there should be instant gratification at every touch point. Another way of looking at it would be to avoid moments of what I would call Instant Misery. In Frank's business, this could be a customer opening their box and finding fingerprints all over their new stainless steel table base. Or perhaps there was a part missing from the box, or a customer called with a problem and was put on hold. You get the idea. And you can likely think of examples of Instant Misery you want to avoid in your own company.
These negative touch points not only provide misery, they can also cause customers to question if they want to continue doing business with your company. They erode confidence.
How can you provide Instant Gratification for the customer? There are many ways:
Ensure that all calls to technical support are answered by a customer service representative within 10 seconds.
Provide answers to customer questions on Twitter in less than five minutes.
Offer an extra special friendly greeting to returning customers when they enter your place of business.
Train call center representatives to resolve problems. Don't transfer the caller multiple times.
Send quick notification that an online order has been accepted and is being processed.
Send updates such as when a product has shipped, or a project is progressing.
Ensure that packages arrive on time — or even sooner than estimated.
These are just a few of the steps in the customer journey through which you can provide instant gratification. So, here is an assignment for you. Gather your team and create a customer journey map. It should include all the touch points along the way that are opportunities to create these moments of instant gratification. While you do so, be sure to plan how to eliminate any potential occurrences of instant misery. Make sure your customer's journey is the best it can be at every step of the way.