8 Ways to Build A Great Customer Experience
What makes a great customer experience? Not customer service, but what makes a great customer experience for people? Customer service focuses on the business, NOT the client or the people. I'm hoping you can focus more on the people, on your clients for this exercise, and the context of this lesson. Do not focus on the business itself.
I know you might be thinking it sounds tricky. Your brain might be trying to make the two concepts seem like the same activity, but they are not. The best boost you can give to your brand is to focus on the processes and actions intertwine with your customers and clients.
You can do things to make the "experience" your customers have to be better for them. This post will cover eight ideas that help you focus on building a great brand experience for them. Yahoo! Let's get going!
1. Craft An Intentional Path to Success
The first thing to know is that you can control the experience for them. You can't control how clients perceive it. You can create the master plan for the journey you will take them on.
When you work toward bringing your business' desired experience closer to what they think they will be getting and overdelivering a positive expectation, you will have succeeded in creating a memory for them.
These memories are gold to your company.
When you reach this level of intangible customer feedback, you have found the jackpot of brand experience for your customers, when people remember how they felt using your product, attending your event, reaching out for connection with your business.
Think about it. If you were planning a party, you would fuss over the details of the theme and what ambiance your party will have. You might serve particular food, specific drinks, music, swag bags, or treats. You would also consider and give thought to who are you inviting into your business.
You can go as deep into the details as your party budget and time will allow. This same mindset is also helpful when building the journey with one significant difference. The party isn't for YOU! It's for them, so give them what they want with a little bit of brand you mixed in.
It might seem like fluff, too much, or that you are getting into the nitty-gritty, but it's the small things that make a considerable impact on the impression. These moments help people talk about your brand. They are the moments that people share with their friends, colleagues, and your next potential customer.
2. Empathize With Them
Notice where they are in their journey. Where are customers struggling? Where can you guide them to the next step? Be kind. Be generous. Be patient with them until they trust in your offer.
3. Be Friendly
Friendships take time to evolve. Relationships take time to create. Unless your product is time-sensitive because it solves an urgent medical problem, try not to manufacture brand scarcity. If it's actual scarcity, then do state it. Trust can speed up with the right brand signals, processes, and care to the experience that helps answer their concerns along the way.
Be kind to them is essential. Notice what language or words you are using, whether written or verbal. Ensure your team, virtual assistants, or employees who directly interact with customers understand the process, know the brand's tone, and use it with their daily customer interactions.
4. Provide Valuable Solution(s)
Don't solely focus on the bells and whistles of your product or service. Help them see and visualize how it will change something for them, how it will help them, or give them what they want.
One method of understanding the deep desires they have is to write down the specific words they use to describe their internal views and their external symptoms of the problem. Actually, study the way they think, how do they view the problem? What is their perspective and why? What influences those thoughts and word choices.
5. Never Stop Improving Their Experience
I love this one! There is a Japanese word and concept called Kaizen, and it means continuous improvement. In Japanese culture, they are always curiously exploring how to improve things. You will want to do this for the brand experience you are creating as well.
There will be a moment where you will need to stop creating and allow them to experience what you have created. Then you will step back, observe and think about how can we make this better?
It is a beautiful process to embrace for two reasons. Number one, it allows you off the hook for those of us who struggle with perfectionism. It will enable you to embrace where you are on your business journey as you refine and define the identity and direction of your brand. It also allows you permission to change. Branding is better when viewed as an expansion and contraction process over time.
Don't get stuck in the pitfall of thinking it has to all be perfect for it to work still. Pick a measuring stick of your success metric. Create that boundary around when is good enough for now—allowing yourself to grow the brand and add flexibility to your tool belt.
6. Demonstrate Reliability - Be Consistent
I am not talking about the "be consistent on social media" advice blasted everywhere. While that is true, we create processes and systems to help build the brand, but as we do this over time, we will start to veer out of the box away from our decided brand voice. We might also move away from our core values, and things can become disjointed, out of alignment, and sometimes confusing for people.
Have you ever showed up to a party expecting a particular experience, and then the door opens, and it's entirely not what you expected. That is what you don't want to happen to your brand. You don't want to bait and switch them. You want them to trust and know that what they expect will be met or exceeded at some level.
You show up to the front door thinking it's going to be chill and zen, but instead, you get heavy metal music blasting in your face. You want to avoid this from a brand perspective. I am not saying that if your brand personality is a heavy metal experience that it's wrong. It's neither right nor wrong. It's not what the person was expecting, so there will ultimately be some disappointment, leading to feelings.
The best practice to review materials, collateral, your social feeds, your email sequences, and other content against where your Brand Guidelines are now for the brand. Make adjustments and improve. You can decide how frequently you will do this. Maybe once a quarter is good so that you don't become overwhelmed about the volume of changes that might need to be updated if you are a solopreneur, maybe once a year.
7. Use Technology To Manage The Brand
View technology and apps as tools to help make experiences better to enhance, NOT to create the experience. As a brand manager, be careful not to cause distractions by adding things that distract them, causing them to lose focus. Adding more is not the goal. Reaching or getting people what they want while making them feel great along the way is a better goal.
8. Love On Your Customers
Customer appreciation is always in vogue. We never stop being appreciated, seen, thanked, and loved. We are human, and if you don't believe it matters, here are a few customer expectations and behaviors highlighted in a 2021 Hubspot blog article.
"Ninety percent of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company. (Microsoft)"
"Investing in new customers is between 5 and 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. (Invesp)"
"58% of American consumers will switch companies because of poor customer service. (Microsoft)"
"89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience. (Salesforce Research)"
"63% of consumers expect businesses to know their unique needs and expectations, while 76% of business-to-business buyers expect the same thing. (Salesforce Research)"
If this is the first time or the twentieth time you have thought about creating a great customer experience there are always new insights to learn as our economies, our culture, and our world changes so do the consumers and their behavior.
Make this an annual or quarterly activity in your business to take a closer look at how well are you creating a great customer experience for people and do you agree with how it's going for them? Are you matching your internal brand expectations with the actual perceptions of the customer? If you are, well done. If you aren't, it's okay, because most of us always have room to improve. Taking the time to improve gives you something to share, communicate and celebrate with your customers. They will know that you care and are trying to do better and be a brand that cares.