If you were asked to name the top 5-10 items that have the greatest influence on great customer experience thinking and design improvements, what would your list include? Our agency often runs customer experience/service design workshops, and this question is a key exercise in the workshop.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Before we continue, let me ask you a question.
What works best for value proposition design in your business? We would love to hear what it was. Would you do us a favor and post it in the comments section below? Be the one who starts a conversation.
With the advent of the Internet, the number of marketing options available to both budding and experienced entrepreneurs has become staggering.
How many of you consider customer service or customer experience as elements of your marketing? Consider this … if done well; don’t you think both could create things for customers to talk about? And therefore be enablers for your word of mouth marketing strategy. Let me share a story with you as an example.
Recently I took my sister to our local credit union branch office to take care of three different transactions: getting a credit card reactivated, depositing coins, and ordering checks. The coins required a visit, but the other two transactions could have been done by phone or maybe online. I hoped one visit to a local branch would be easier, but deep down I feared it wouldn’t.
Frankly, I expected we’d be shuttled around the branch to different people to take care of each transaction. Or, worse, told to use the phone to call the credit card support number directly.
Instead, it turned into a quick and extraordinary experience. Because when we entered the branch, a banker warmly greeted us and asked how he could help. After learning what my sister needed to do, he invited us to sit down at his desk.
He then took care of everything: Called the credit card division of Wells Fargo to activate a credit card, took the coins to the teller to make the deposit and returned with a receipt, and ordered new checks. I call attention to the fact that the banker didn’t know us or how much money we had in the credit union
So you see how these events represent a great way to market to customers, don’t you? Think I would talk about my experience with my friends and neighbors? Most definitely.
Customer experience thinking … design improvements
Here is another example of customer experience design you should consider.
This is a story of JetBlue’s customer experience strategy built on its employee empowerment culture. I experienced it first hand and was duly impressed.
The story started a while back while I was sitting on the runway in Orlando as my homeward-bound Jet Blue flight was about to taxi toward takeoff. Like just about every other flight that hadn’t already been canceled that day on the Eastern seaboard, ours was a couple of hours late departing. The lead flight attendant gets on the P.A. system and says something very close to:
Ladies and Gentlemen, we know we’re late taking off, and even though it’s the weather and not something we caused, we’re going to comp everybody movies for this flight. We know you’ve all had a long day, and we want it to end with something nice and relaxing. And for those of you who were supposed to be on the Continental flight and ended up here, we don’t ever want you to go back.
The mood on the flight which could have been a rather dreary late evening affair took an immediate upswing. People joked and smiled and made eye contact. They were noticeably brighter and calmer as the flight progressed. And I’m writing about the experience today, and business travelers are reading about it.
What enabled this relatively small act of kindness and allowed it to become a major brand statement? Midflight, I went to the back of the plane and asked. I wanted to know the policy that allowed a flight attendant to make such a call.
We’re allowed to make almost any decision, the flight attendant explained, as long as we can justify it by one of the airline’s five core values: Safety, Caring, Integrity, Fun or Passion. If we can tie doing something back to one of these principles, the decision is going to be supported by the company.
What JetBlue is saying to its employees … if you act in support of the values that matter to our business, we want you to take risks to care for our customers.
This is a very simple concept, eh? But how many of us put such a thing into practice with our people? Sit down today with your employees and do what Jet Blue did. Start building your employee empowerment culture today.
Create a culture of empowerment based on the values that YOUR business is built on.
OK we have examined two excellent examples, let’s examine nine customer experience and service design truths that we believe are the foundation building blocks of the best experience and service your company can offer:
Acknowledge that I am there as soon as possible … if you are busy with another customer; inform me you will be with me shortly.
Be personable … smile and introduce yourself.
Businesses are made up of people … be human and show your personality.
Don’t sell … use your knowledge and experience to help me decide.
Listen to me and help me complete my visit as quickly as possible, without seeking other help, or ‘handing me off’.
Make your conversation and message relevant to this particular customer(s).
Be easy to work with and exceed expectations whenever you can. If you don’t have what the customer wants, offer alternatives, including recommendations for other businesses.
Be honest and always do what you say (promise). Credibility and trust matter.
Always follow through promptly and keep me informed until you can close.
These are things that we already know, of course. They are not rocket science and shouldn’t be.
This list of little things simply reminds us of what we have forgotten. Then it is up to us to put these lessons (or reminders) into daily use through persistence and practice.
Remember … your experience and learning trumps all!
Do you have a story of customer experience and service personalization that you can share with this community?
Need some help in building better customer trust from your customer experiences? Creative ideas to help grow your customer relationships?
Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options to scope your job and pay for results.
Call Mike at 607-725-8240.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new ideas to make your customer experiences better.
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
More reading on customer experience from our Library: