Three Steps to Delivering a Great Customer Experience Every Time
Brands are built on experiences, and great experiences lead to great outcomes. But what does a great customer experience actually look like? Answering this question is key for businesses to competitively differentiate, transform customer relationships, and accelerate revenue generation.
A glance at the current business landscape will have you believe that certain verticals are dying (ex: retail, driven by the rapid expansion of Amazon). The truth is that only poorly operating businesses are being phased out. Consider the takedown of the once-beloved toy retailer, Toys R Us. There’s a general perception that the company went out of business due to its inability to keep pace with more “modern” digital retailers. Yet you can buy toys through said retailers. What happened here was an inability to keep pace with an evolving customer base. The product didn’t become irrelevant, the brand did.
This is an issue plaguing many businesses for one simple reason: customers are treated differently during the prospecting and onboarding phases than the continual service phase. It’s almost like a marriage. The experience of dating in the early stages is entirely different than a relationship 20 years in. In the beginning, you’ll do almost anything for that one person. Over time, however, this inevitably changes. At some point, a more concerted effort must be made to take time for and show appreciation of one another.
This same thing can happen to affect great customer experience. When first trying to get a customer to do business, a brand will bend over backward to show that person they care. Once the customer is onboarded, however, it’s a matter of focusing on the next conquest. To preserve and strengthen the “B2C marriage,” companies need to focus on growing with their existing customer base rather than simply customer growth. It’s the age-old adage: if you take care of your customers, they’ll stay connected with and keep buying from you.
Here’s my three-step process for guaranteeing a great customer experience every time:
- Acquisition: Look at how you currently acquire customers. Are you simply selling, or offering consultative value? Remember: what you do for your customers will always be more important than what they buy from you. And in the end, what they’re buying is an experience; something that can’t be touched or seen but only felt or encountered. Readjust your strategy to focus more on being a brand of humility and service. Your top priority should be helping customers achieve their goals. Any sales made in the process is icing on the cake.
- Personalization: The post-sales experience is critical. After onboarding a customer, it’s not about upselling and cross-selling or even how quickly you resolve an issue. It’s about how you make customers feel about doing business with you, and that requires a personalized touch. Refocus to create a tailored experience for customers based on where they are along the brand journey (ex: new customers just beginning to use your product or long-term customers that you hope to convert into brand advocates). Ensure consistency, delivering personalized service across the end-to-end brand experience.
- Deep, real-time engagement: The customer journey goes far and wide. There are small but meaningful moments happening every minute that brands can leverage to engage more deeply with customers for stronger, lasting relationships. Consider one of my favorite brands: T-Mobile. Why did I make the switch from AT&T years ago? A key driver of the decision was the social media presence of the company’s CEO, John Legere. He prioritizes real-time engagement with customers across social platforms, answering questions or simply joining the conversation. Recognizing these opportunities to be present with customers where they are based on how they prefer to interact is key for turning “buyers” into “lifers.”
The Bottom Line
Do a great job when trying to onboard customers but do an even better job as you continually engage and service them. Look for opportunities to personalize and uniquely interact to position your brand as more than a company that someone occasionally swipes a card with to buy something. The truth will always remain that a relationship-driven experience is a great customer experience. It’s the ultimate incentive for customers to buy and remain loyal, for better or for worse.