What's Happened To Great Customer Experiences?

What's Happened To Great Customer Experiences?

At your next staff meeting, ask your team to describe the best customer experiences they recently have had and then vote on the one experience that your team believes was best overall.  

There were two goals in the exercise. One was to start creative juices flowing and engage your team, exchange ideas and discuss what’s going on in their world.  The second goal of the exercise is to highlight great customer service experiences and discuss how you can apply their lessons to your business. 

At a recent workshop that asked a group of association members to describe the best customer experiences they recently had encountered included an airline that sent a bottle of champagne to the seats of a couple that were traveling to celebrate a milestone anniversary. Another example was a hotel that upgraded a guest that had a particularly rough trip getting to the property. A third example was an emergency response team helping a member that suffered a heart attack.

While those examples are admirable, are they really exceptional service?  If doing one’s job is reviewed as an example of a great experience as was the case with the emergency response team or providing a room upgrade at a hotel is viewed as exceptional, what does that say about the state of customer service?

Don’t be surprised if the best experiences mentioned by your team are equally underwhelming and leads to your thinking, is that it?  That’s the best we could do?  

Other benefits of this exercise include a realization by your team that it does not take much to surprise and delight your customers because examples of great customer service are so few and far between. Meet with your team and ask, what do we and can we do that surprises and delights customers? It could be as easy as an offer to allow customers to “test-drive” a touchless kitchen faucet or high performing showerhead by providing loaners to those looking to renovate their kitchen or primary bath. You can take that offer up a notch by volunteering to install the fixtures at the customer’s home. While you are there, imagine the ideas that you could provide to customers for improving cabinets, vanities, storage and obtaining a better understanding of their project or simply demonstrating that you are there literally for them.

The lesson here is that the more often you provide little surprises and delights, the more word will spread among your customer base of the extras that you provide and that will help build your brand as one that delivers exceptional customer service. In today’s digital world, word of mouth has become increasingly valuable as a means for marketing your business. There’s a good chance that you will see your brand lauded on Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, Houzz and other social media sites by your customers.

All of the little extras will only have the positive impact that you desire if you have mastered the basics. Information requests need to be responded to quickly and professionally to the satisfaction of the customer. Phone calls and emails need to be returned promptly and on and on and on. James McQuivey points out in Digital Disruption that human beings are basically the same as they always have been. They have not changed. They want the same things they have always wanted. What the digital age has changed is people’s ability to get what they want. “This has led them to expect that their needs can and should be met – more often and more completely than ever before in human history,” McQuivey concludes.

At your next staff meeting, ask members of your team to describe the best customer experience that they recently have had.  Determine how you can apply the lessons that those experiences teach to your showroom and customer service. And ask your team members how they can meet the needs of their customers more often and more completely.

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