You are creating a customer experience today whether you know it or not
If it is not purposeful or if you aren’t setting expectations of your organization, the experience is probably very different at multiple touchpoints inside and outside your organization. This different execution drives confusion and doubt, which ultimately can cause abandonment, either of the purchase all-together, or at least of your brand being the one purchased.
Every time a customer encounters your brand, it creates an impression
What does a customer experience when he visits your website? Sees an ad? Reads a customer review? How does she feel after visiting a showroom or talking to a sales rep? After talking to other customers? What’s it like to shop for, buy, install and use your products? What’s it like for the customer when there’s a question or a problem?
Every one of those impressions has the potential to satisfy, to disappoint or to delight your customer
And all those impressions add up to an overall feeling about your brand that has a direct impact on how that customer will act when it’s time to review your company, refer others and return (or not) to work with you again.
But chances are you know this part already
You don’t need a fancy term to describe it, it’s just good business. Of course you don’t want to disappoint your customers. Of course you want to over-deliver and delight them so they become loyal customers and enthusiastic advocates for your brand. So why isn’t it happening?
You just don’t know how to do it any differently
Because you can’t be everywhere at once. You can’t exceed expectations all the time. Heck, a lot times it’s hard enough just to meet customer expectations, much less surprise and delight them, given how fast everything is changing around you.
And that’s why we get stuck muddling in the middle
If you’re trying to be exceptional everywhere, chances are you won’t be exceptional anywhere. When you’re trying to do everything, you’re spread too thin. It’s all you can do to maintain parity, or, if you’re really good, to make some incremental gains. You get stuck in that sea of sameness—working hard and doing good work, but constantly struggling to create a really memorable, and measurable, distinction from the competition.
Fortunately, you don’t need Disney’s business model, or its deep pockets, to create a magical customer experience of your own, and set your business apart.
You just need to know what to focus on—how to use the resources you have to improve your customer experience in a way that helps you outperform your industry. And that’s where the real magic happens.
Over the course of this series, we’ll cover the 4 parts of creating a killer customer experience:
- Define and profile the customers you want to engage.
Take the time to understand how your product moves through the sales channel. Identify the customers and influencers at each step along the way. Then evaluate and prioritize those audiences.
- Understand their journey and pain points to prioritize key interactions.
Walk in their shoes. Get an accurate baseline of what it’s really like to be your customer. Then zero in on key opportunities where you can really shine.
- Embed the philosophy into your organization.
Customer experience extends well beyond sales and so must your philosophy. You can only deliver on a truly differentiated experience when it’s fully ingrained into your company culture.
- Measure and optimize the experience.
Now that you have a baseline, keep measuring. Listen frequently and carefully to feedback. You’ll find opportunities to remove friction, and to surprise and delight your customers.