Great customer experiences are not accidental; they are strategically designed to appeal to everything that touches a consumer, client, or customer. Extraordinary customer experiences extend to all points of the connection that will affect the reason a customer returns. It extends beyond customer service; it is the total experience, and what makes a customer happier with your company than the competition each and every time.
Let's start from the beginning. All customers or clients have experiences. For instance, in real estate sales there is the interest in purchasing a home. A potential buyer has to be qualified as to what he can afford. Then there is the shopping around for the perfect home, the time of the purchase which is negotiating and writing out the contract, the follow-up on all contingencies, inspections, municipal ordinances pertaining to the home, and finally the date of settlement where your customer shakes your hand, hugs you, and thanks you for finding his new home. Now one might think that the real estate agent has done a great job, but to deliver a notable customer experience, there also has to be the post purchase interaction; what does it take to keep that person coming back to you in a few years when they are ready to sell? Will they recommend you to their friends and family?
Customers and clients don't just come to you for your products or services. They come to you because they like the experience of buying your product or service. It's delivering that experience which is the hard part. Statistically businesses lose 50 percent of their patrons within three years. Is it that they are just not making their customers happier than their competition? Customer experiences that are memorable and give customers exactly what they want brings them back. It is all incorporated into the total experience.
So what can a business or service do to make that customer experience so positive that "it can never get any better?" Here are a few suggestions:
- Concentrate on employee training. These are the people who will make the experience either positive or negative.
- Understand what the customer experience objective is, and act upon it. Be a customer yourself. Walk through your store and examine it internally and externally. Touch upon the sites as you enter the store. How does the store appeal to your senses? Can you hear music? Is the store aesthetically pleasing? What about the lighting? How does it all make you feel?
- For online businesses, create a personal experience. Use incentives; surprises after spending a certain amount of money. Provide customer service by phone, and make it easy to contact your business. Be environmentally friendly. Be quirky, and be a forward thinker. Don't just follow the other internet sites selling the same products or services. Positive and innovative thinkers lead the pack.
Define the total customer experience, and execute the plan. It's not just being efficient; it's the grand design to find customers, gain their business, and bring them back. It can be your distinctive brand; it will help to own the customer and the rewards are building loyalty and increasing profits.