There is much conversation around creating a memorable customer experience in order to gain customer loyalty. Whether a fad or not, customer experience is a differentiator and should be a part of your brand. Too often companies jump on the bandwagon without the proper processes and strategies needed to make their goal a reality. The challenge is getting the foundation laid before attempting to go beyond to experience. To be successful, you must have 5 strategies in place as a part of your customer focused culture.
Be reliable. Do what you say you are going to do, do it when you say you will and do it right the first time. This is about what you promise. If you can’t get this right, you don’t deserve loyal customers. Today’s fickle customers won’t give you a second chance and they shouldn’t. There are too many other easy and accessible choices.
Do the basics well. The basics are – be nice, create a welcome, listen, be empathetic, listen, respond as needed, fix problems fast and resolve with one contact. It is really about good manners, serving with knowledge, showing concern and wanting to genuinely help.
Have an engaged team. This means hire smart to start and hire likeable people. Danny Meyer, restauranteur and author of Setting the Table, says he hired people who “are actually happiest when they’re making you happy.” It is important to connect them to the purpose of the business, involve them by asking for their opinions and give feedback often. Make certain your team is well trained and emotionally equipped to handle the rigors of customer service.
Talk about the customer and the experience often. Bring the team together to discuss how the experience can be improved. Use the meeting to recognize those who get it and to coach on how to take it to the next level. Be relentless in the pursuit of a memorable customer experience. Share the customer’s feedback and use their voice to set higher goals. To make customer experience a reality, you must talk it, coach it and measure it.
Step up and be the leader. Successful organizations have a champion of customer experience. Someone has to be the cheerleader and the coach. The challenge is keeping customer experience on the company agenda. Many organizations “visit” the concept periodically so no momentum occurs. Employees lose faith and interest in the half-hearted efforts. Customers figure it out a lot faster and don’t come back.
Customer experience should be a well designed process and a part of your brand and marketing. Customers want a positive memorable experience. You only earn the right to deliver that difference once you have these 5 foundations embedded in your customer-focused culture. Customers love a great experience but you must get the normal stuff right first.