In the month of June, I wanted to explore the topic of customer experience. I’ve known the concept for years thanks to my background in product design for tech startups. However, it’s often not something considered at a larger scale aka the business scale. There are plenty of companies, big and small, who are consciously striving to create the most fantastic customer experiences for their clients and customers.
However, relatively speaking, most companies’ customer experiences are lacking (more on that later). I want your company to be one of those that have built a loyal fan base among your clients. I want you to gain clients who can’t seem to be able to stop talking about you because they love you so much! Here we go, the four remarkable reasons why a proper customer experience differentiates you!
1. Customer experience is THE differentiating factor
I want you to think like a consumer right now. Imagine you have a problem and are looking to hire a professional to solve it for you. You narrow it down to two contenders who happen to be precisely the same: the same price, the same solution, the same services, and so on.
How do you pick one? Easy, we choose based on emotion. We select the one we have a connection with, the one that makes us feel good, valued or heard.
It’s even more interesting to see when we pick a more expensive option because of how they made us feel. I was flat out broke with thousands of dollars in debt and a heavy depression, trying to make this business work. So I decided I can’t do it alone, and I must hire a business coach. My intention was to spend $200 on weekly calls. I ended up going with a business coach who cost me $3000 for a program because of how she made me feel. (She made me feel heard, that she will take care of me. I believed she had good ideas that she could easily apply to my situation and help me get out of it too!)
As a business owner, I’m sure you do everything you can to make sure your clients and prospects feel welcomed. When you talk to them on the phone or email them, I’m sure you’re pleasant and an active listener. However, what about when you’re not there? What about your current sales funnel? What about your email automation, what about pre-scheduled social media posts?
Most companies don’t bother designing for a full customer experience
If you remember from my last week’s post, customer experience has eight phases. A customer experience is the feeling a client has at any given point of interaction with your business. Yet, most companies focus on the first one or two. This gives you a significant advantage over your competition because I’m sure they too only give a damn about the initial sales and marketing processes. This is your opportunity to stand out and give yourself a fantastic differentiating factor.
Additionally, taking the time in designing a proper and thorough customer experience will address the all too common struggle of “how do I stand out?” When you make your clients feel cared for, heard, taken care of and pleased, that is how you make your brand remarkable. Also, no competition can touch that!
2. Following the status quo gets you nowhere
Many business owners get overwhelmed by running their businesses. I understand it; I know what it’s like. There is just so much to do! Often what happens is we settle on the good enough. We settle on the typical experience that is considered normal and, therefore expected. Yet, I’m sure we can all agree that no one ever got noticed for blending in and doing the bare minimum.
When customers feel appreciated, companies gain measurable benefits—including the chance to win more of their customers’ spending dollars. The payoffs for valued, great experiences are tangible: up to a 16% price premium on products and services, plus increased loyalty. While every industry sees a potential price bump for providing a positive customer experience, luxury and indulgence purchases benefit the most from top-flight service.PwC
The truth is that when you decide to be like everyone else, you choose to blend in and not stand out. No matter if this decision is conscious or not. I’m here to remind you that you need to set a higher standard for your company and choose to be better and be different. Take the time to design the whole customer experience to make your client feel great about conducting businesses with you and you will have the power to rock your industry.
Customer experience makes for multi-billion dollar companies
Let’s talk about Uber really quick. They created a product that was miles beyond the previous status quo of the taxi industry. You knew exactly who picked you up, their name, plate number. You can give them reviews, and complain based on them being a shitty driver (taking a wrong route or driving recklessly), a shitty person (being rude), or whatnot. Moreover, Uber would hear and acknowledge your complaints by refunding the ride when appropriate and apologize for the bad experience – they remedied the situation, and you felt good about it!
Additionally, the drivers started to go out of their way to provide enjoyable experiences in their rides by providing water, phone chargers, and aux cords. I had a few offer me snacks and candy too. You NEVER get that kind of experience with a typical cab! Nope.
It was a better working experience for drivers too because if they had a terrible customer who damaged their car or was exceptionally rude to them, they could report that too. They also knew who their passengers were thanks to the app. They can leave reviews for future drivers too. Moreover, they get paid from Uber no matter what, not the passenger.
That is the reason Uber, and other big tech startups changed their industries. It all started with the customer experience.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to run a giant corporation like Uber. However, that doesn’t mean I cannot learn from it. Whatever your own business goals are, you need to remember that no one ever got noticed for blending in and doing the bare minimum no matter if they wanted to be a small company or a tech unicorn.
3. Opportunity to express yourself and shine
Your company’s core values will determine and drive the customer experience. A well-designed customer experience will embrace and enforces what your company holds true, near and dear. For example, you need employees that believe in your values to embrace them in their day-to-day work. When they do that, those values are spread to the customers as they interact with these employees or the work they create, like social media campaigns.
Zappos knows how to treat their customers right
Zappos’s first company value is to ‘deliver WOW through service.’ They go out of their way to make sure every one of the customers they serve is wowed. So much so that they have no rules for their customer service calls. Their employees are directed to help the customer no matter what. They can stay on the phone and talk about all sorts of things if the calling customer wants to. This includes random, non-Zappos related stuff too.
Their number one priority is to provide the best possible experience, and that means being human with their customers who call in. It means listening to them, not reading scripts or not following random and complicated return policies. Their support staff is given freedom and are explicitly trained to go above and beyond for their customers. Zappos’ core values are no doubt a big part of the company’s culture which is then naturally integrated into the customer experience as well.
Back in 2011, according to Jim Edwards and Business Insider, Zappos:
- Zappos sent flowers to a woman who ordered six different pairs of shoes because harsh medical treatments damaged her feet
- A customer service rep physically went to a rival shoe store to get a specific pair of shoes for a woman staying at the
- Mandalay Bay hotel in Vegas when Zappos ran out of stock.
- Overnighted a free pair of shoes to a best man who had arrived at a wedding shoeless.
You hear many stories like these from Zappos from even before 2011 and all the way till today.
I’m turning back towards you. What are you doing to embrace your company values, your branding and the things you want your company to stand for? How does your company culture reflect the customer experience?
Use a well designer customer experience to let your brand show through. Use it as a platform to express yourself, what makes you unique and what makes you amazing. How do you want your employees to interact with your clients? How do you want your clients to feel through all 8 phases of their customer journey with you?
4. Your chance to connect on a human level
I’ve briefly mentioned in the previous point that Zappos employees treat their customers like humans. That is an essential point. Often, we are so caught up in numbers, data, analytics, conversion rates, lead qualifications and all this other business jargon, that we forget we are here to help serve other people.
Treat your prospects, your current clients and your past clients like humans, like people and they will be forever grateful. I’m also sure you can recall experiences in your life where you felt terrible because someone wasn’t paying attention to you. They just wanted to get you in and out as quickly as possible. Just as I’m also certain how good it felt when someone took the time to see you, hear you and acknowledge you with a simple but kind gesture. You know, it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Treat your customers with care throughout their whole process of doing business with you, and they will not be able to get enough. Once again, most companies don’t do this which will make you stand out even more.
Backed by data
PwC conducted a survey. They got some disappointing results. 2/3 of the customers they surveyed, feel companies have lost touch with the human element when it comes to customer experience. I agree with it. It’s just as accurate for online experiences as it is for in-person ones.
The big takeaway from PwC’s survey is how sad the current state of customer experience is at scale. Additionally, they found that 60% of their participants would stop doing business with a company due to unfriendly services. 54% of U.S. consumers say customer experience at most companies needs improvement. They are also willing to pay more for better experiences! 43% people say they’d pay more for greater convenience; 42% for a friendly, welcoming experience. On top of all these statistics, there is also the fact that 65% of U.S. customers find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising. That’s huge because most companies only focus on marketing and advertising!
Lastly, 32% of PwC survey participants said they’d walk away from a brand they already love after only one bad experience. (In the U.S., 59% will walk away after several bad ones.)
I can attest to that last statistic. I used to be head over heels in love with Airbnb. Once, I had a bad experience with a host, and I contacted the company. The way they handled the situation only made things worse. Long story short, I delete my account altogether.
Good customer experience leaves people feeling heard and appreciated; it minimizes friction, maximizes efficiency and maintains a human element.PwC
In last week’s post I explained the eight different phases we must consider; and today, I wanted to seriously drive the importance of consciously deciding to build a thorough customer experience for your clients. Take a look at your company and see what you can improve. Seriously, look into the many different opportunities you have to delight your clients.
If you’re serious about improving your overall customer experience, I invite you to schedule a free consultation call with me. Together, we will dive into how to get your customers to fall in love with your brand while being heard, acknowledged and seen at all eight stages of their customer journey with you.