The Key to awesome customer experiences

Thursday 18th, August 2016

How to photoWe have only heard of horror stories of people when they travel – but stories from happy customers?

Take a look at this one – the New York Times best-selling author Steven Levitt talks about how United Airlines turned him into a customer for life in a couple ways. He goes on to say how the airlines actually saved his seat right up to the last second when he was running late to catch a particular flight! Not bad, you might say! At another time, United did something pretty cool – they saw that Levitt was in the airport but that his flight was delayed by a few hours. And so they called him and said “I see that you’re at the airport and your flight is delayed a few hours. A seat opened up on an earlier flight, so I grabbed it for you in case you wanted it. It leaves in 40 minutes, so you’ll have to hurry.”

Needless to say, these two instances made him a happy customer for life!

These two events, Levitt explains, turned him into a life-long customer of United Airlines.

And why?

United Airlines delivered what can only be called an amazing customer experience!

What is customer experience?

A customer experience is basically the perception a customer has of his relationship with a brand – this perception stems from a cumulative set of interactions with the said brand. Good and bad experiences have their effect on this perception.  And so do amazing experiences that other great brands offer. (Totally unrelated – but a customer’s expectation goes up nevertheless!)

The way to win customers, beat the competition and take things to different levels of success, is by keeping a close watch on these customer experiences. Each customer experience is what will determine how engaged he or she will be. And that in turn will determine loyalty. And even brand advocacy. But it all depends on how great or bad each customer experience is.

Some say that it is the next “competitive battleground”!

Studies have found that many customers are willing to even pay more to get a great customer experience.

So how does one deliver a great customer experience to each customer?

We all know that each customer uses various touchpoints to connect with a business – and a business ought to ensure that a customer gets a lot of value out of each of these interactions.

Here are some key factors to keep in mind – make sure you score on these, and you would have created great customer experiences for each of your customers.

  1. Make sure your navigations are simple – don’t make anything too convoluted for him. If he is looking for information, make sure he gets it quickly. Not by going through some complex navigations to find what he is looking for.
  2. Keep your processes simple – don’t try to force long-winded forms and fields for him to fill. Most customers use smart phones these days – small buttons and fat fingers don’t really mix. Ensure it is nice and easy for him to use.
  3. While we are on the subject of smart phones – make sure that he can use a mobile device to engage with you. And engage with you well. Most people use mobile devices and smart phones to engage with a business – so use responsive designs on emails and websites so that he gets a full-blooded great experience no matter how he engages with you. The world has gone mobile – every business needs to incorporate that idea into their strategy.
  4. Engage with your customers meaningfully. Communicate with them. Use customer data to know about them before you engage with them. Knowing a customer will help make each interaction meaningful.
  5. And once you know the customer well, you can personalize each interaction with him to make it meaningful. Get a single view of each customer (collect data from all the touchpoints and derive meaningful insights about the customer to know about him) – to understand him well. And then go about personalizing each interaction with him – send him information that he will find interesting and relevant. Give him the feeling that he can just pick up where he left off. Let him know that he need not have to explain his problem to each new customer service executive that he will be in touch with.
  6. Speaking about data – make sure that he knows that his data is safe with you. Every individual has his concerns about the safety of his data and privacy concerns. He needs to know that his data and information is safe with you and also needs to know that you will not misuse the data at any cost. Or give away his information to anyone else. He needs to feel safe with you. Make sure he does.
  7. Teach them simply how your product would make their lives better. That is what they want to know. Don’t try to sell him stuff. He is too smart for that. Today’s evolved customer won’t buy such ‘selling’ anymore! Give them meaningful content – content that will teach them about how your product will solve a problem they have and make their lives easier. That is what will work today!
  8. If a customer comes to you with an issue that he needs fixing – try and resolve it instantly. The longer a customer is dissatisfied with you, the more damage it will create. He will then have a negative perception of his interaction with your brand and will even talk about his negative feelings with his circle of trusted friends. And the bad karma will just spread. A business needs to keep an eye on all the many touchpoints the customer will use – in order to spot these “need to be fixed” issues. He might leave a comment on Social Media. He might call your customer care call center. He might write into your feedback email account! The key is to quickly spot these and set them right. As quickly as it is reasonably possible.
  9. Think out of the box – make it an everyday practice to find new ways to constantly surprise or make your customers happy. It can be through simple gestures – but they translate into a lot when it comes to customer satisfaction.

These are some ways in which a business can make sure that they create great customer experiences for their people.

Go on – make your customer happy!

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