Defining Your Customer Experience to Develop a Loyal Fan Base
The all-important customer experience.
Today’s world is driven by immediacy, technology, and information. Your customers have more options than ever before, and more ways to collect information on those options. So how can your business stand out? For today’s customer, delivering a pristine customer experience is your business’s competitive advantage.
Organizations must establish a brand that delivers delight, information, quality, convenience, cost savings, goodwill, or novelty to reach and engage their end-consumer.
Large organizations can establish a process for directing a customer down the sales funnel, but ultimately, it’s the relationship the company has with the end-consumer that evolves them into a loyal, repeat customer and serves as an authentic sales tool for other potential customers. But where does an organization begin in establishing their unique, experiential differentiator? Start with the following.
The customer experience begins with defining who your customers are
What are the different personas of customers who communicate with your frontline employees day in and day out? To understand your customer’s needs wants, and pain points, you first need to understand and empathize with the situations they face.
One way to do this is to create customer personas, giving each one a name, lifestyle, and personality. For example, Susan is 35 years old; she’s a single mother of two with two jobs to juggle. She doesn’t have the time or patience to understand the root of her problem. She just desperately wants it fixed. Meanwhile, Brad is an affluent 40-year-old, happily married with a golden retriever. He wants to understand what the cause of his problem is and can follow clear instructions on how to fix it if given the proper steps to take.
By establishing these personas, your frontline employees can recognize which type of persona they’re speaking to and are better equipped on how to meet their individual expectations.
A unique customer experience stems from creating a connection with your customers
Simply put, there are plenty of organizations that do what yours does. But if your organization is the one that can develop a real, emotional connection with the customer, you have won. These connections do not happen overnight. They take time, patience, and dedication to delivering on that authentic connection.
Zappos provides the best examples for delivering on this authentic, customer connection. One such story involved a man who purchased his shoes from Zappos.com for his best man outfit. When the courier routed his order to the wrong location, leaving him shoe-less for the big day, he called Zappos to explain his situation. Not only did Zappos overnight a replacement pair of shoes at no cost, but they also upgraded him to a VIP account and gave him a full refund. Zappos was willing to lose money on an error that wasn’t their fault, in order to gain a customer for life.
Delivering an ample customer experience means fixing problems before they happen
You should always go the extra mile to solve a customer’s problem. But the organizations that create the most exceptional customer experiences are the ones that solve the customer’s problems before they realize they exist. By proactively solving problems before they happen, you stay one step ahead of your customer. This gives you the time to strategize your customer communications and make them personal, creating a seamless customer experience.
For example, if you notice a product is delayed in shipping, you can pull the customer’s contact information and use it to send a personalized email. Explain the situation, ask if they needed the product by a certain deadline, or perhaps referring to a past order they’ve made and if they liked it. By being proactive, you remain in control of your customer experience.
Where does your company fall on the customer experience continuum?
Determining how you deliver on your customer experience requires you to first get accurate customer feedback as well as input from your frontline employees. If I were to ask your customers today about their experience with your business, what would they say? What would your employees say if I asked them about the customer service they offer?
Your perception of how successful you’re delivering on your organization’s promise of a seamless customer experience might not be the same as the perception your employees or your customers have.
The first step in improving your customer experience is to figure out where you currently lie on the customer experience continuum. For more on evaluating your current customer service and learning how to evolve it, download our free eBook, “The NEW Customer” and learn how to create your own red carpet experience for your customers.