Let your customers help you make it memorable

February 9, 2016

let your customers helpIn last week’s post we explored the importance of creating a memorable experience for your customers. Today’s customers are one click away from finding someone else to meet their needs which means you need to knock them dead every time.

While your competitors can match your prices, copy your products or services and even hire away your staff but they can’t replicate a unique customer experience. The question, of course, is – exactly what would that experience be?

The good news is we’re not talking about erecting a circus tent and putting on a show. We’re talking about making doing business with you simple, fast and without any hiccups – all flavored with your brand’s essence.

Here’s the best part. Your customers will help you craft the experience they want most. If you let them.

Get smarter: The first step is to listen, learn and share what you’ve discovered. You need to gather information about your offerings and your clients. In terms of your offerings, you need to anticipate what your prospects and customers might need to know. You also need to anticipate what your employees might need to know as they serve your customers.

You also need to capture as much information as possible about your customers. The best source? You guessed it — your customers. Start talking to them more. Find out what they worry about. Find out why they do or don’t buy for the second time. What would make it twice as easy to do business with you? These are the kinds of questions you need to be asking.

Another way to learn from your customers is to observe how they interact with every portal into your company. Where do they go on your website? What do they ask when they call or email? What size, feature or option do they gravitate towards?

Equip your team to deliver: This is one of the spots that constantly trips up companies.   The leadership team or marketing department put together new processes or policies but the details don’t ever trickle down to the front line staff. They’re expected to seamlessly deliver a remarkable experience but it’s news to them.

Better yet – let your front line team help you make the experience better. No one has more encounters with your clients so make sure their voice is part of the mix. Here’s the rub. No matter what you create, it won’t be quite right at first.  This is where your customer facing team is most important.   They’ll be the ones who can detect the flaws and suggest improvements.

All of this is only going to work if you invest enough time up front to get all the input from all levels of the organization and that you also build a feedback mechanism that allows you to gather reactions and issues so you adjust.

Wrap it with your brand: Making it easier to do business with you is one thing. And it’s an important thing. But what makes the customer experience you create genuine and something so unique that your competitors can’t mimic it is putting your brand’s stamp on every aspect of the encounter.

What does that look like? Look in the mirror. Is your company very buttoned up and serious about security? Are you playful and tongue in cheek? Do you have elaborate systems and processes? Think about how your customer perceives your organization. Identify what drew your best customers to you in the first place and figure out how to weave that throughout all your interactions.

Creating an experience that makes your customer feel valued, appreciated and heard is a powerful way to not only create customers for life but customers who can’t help but bring their friends along.


Customer surveys: Tell them what you heard

May 20, 2011

…Close the loop on customer surveys

Last month, I wrote a post which suggested that you stop guessing what your customers were thinking and instead (dramatic pause for novel thought) you just asked them.   I offered up several different ways you could “survey” your customers from traditional surveys to secret shopping and advisory boards.

But… what I forgot to mention was this:

When you ask your customers (or employees, or vendors) for their opinion or assessments – be sure you close the loop by telling what you learned.  Let them share in the insights you gained AND tell them what you are going to do with this new knowledge.

Let’s say that one of the key pieces of feedback you got was that when your customers couldn’t get a hold of their normal account rep, they didn’t know who else they could talk to if there was a problem.

One way to handle that would be to create a contact sheet (headshot, name, title, phone number, cell phone number, e-mail, etc.) of the entire team that works on the client.  Write a letter, explaining that this was something you learned during the survey, so you’re sharing this contact sheet with them in case they were one of the people who wasn’t sure who to reach out to if there was trouble.

It doesn’t have to be fancy or formal.  A letter from your CEO with these elements would also work just great.

  • Thank you for participating in our survey if you did
  • Here were the things you loved the most (share the good news too!)
  • Here are the top 3 things we learned we could improve upon
  • Here is how we’re going to address those items
  • Again, thank you.  If you have more feedback, please feel free to call me.

You could also write a story for your newsletter or put it on your blog, website or Facebook fan page.  No matter what method — be sure you close the loop and let them know that you appreciated their time and that they were heard.

P.S.  The other plus of closing the loop is that it reinforces the message that you care about their opinion, you listen when they offer feedback and you are always trying to get even better.

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