Companies already know that acquiring new customers is considerably more expensive than keeping the ones they already have. Satisfied customers are the ones that stick around and, consequently, use and buy more products and promote the brand to other people.
There is also a whole industry based around maximizing customer experience at “all points of contact” with a company, making this a very important topic for companies that want to succeed and have a competitive advantage. In this post I will talk about the three main characteristics that make a great customer experience and give some examples of companies that are doing a good job.
Rule number 1: Build strong relationships
A company that knows what its customers want can build a strong relationship with them. By not only giving customers what they are looking for, but also exceeding their expectations, companies can differentiate themselves. When that happens the satisfied customers return and use more of the companies’ services instead of its competitors. It is important to always stay in touch with customers, not only at the purchase time, but also on other special dates, like sending them an e-mail on their birthday to maintain a good relationship.
Rule number 2: Start at the top
The customer experience has to start with the CEO. The CEO and the board of directors need to keep customer experience as one of the companies priorities so that the other employees will think the same way and follow the example.
A good way of doing that is to have specific goals related to customer experience and also a team focused on listening to customers complaints/feedback and acting quickly to answer them. Another effective idea is to ask the team focused on customer experience to make regular presentations to the other teams, so that all employees can know what the customers are saying and suggesting.
Rule number 3: Use metrics
You need a way to measure whether your customers are happy or not. This way it is possible to see if recent changes in the company or in its products are aligned with customers needs. Surveys are a great way to do that, always combining closed-ended (to have more quantifiable metrics) and open-ended (to allow customers to freely express their opinions) questions.
Some companies are constantly trying to improve their customers experience, like Google, that used an approach of answering customer questions one on one, at the time they were being asked and also included a video calling support option to them. This helped the company to improve its customer satisfaction scores from 44% to 90%.
Zappos aims to deliver to its customers a wow experience by allowing them to easily customize Zappos seemingly unlimited options into exactly what each of them needs and wants.
Apple is very famous for its customer service and, according to Carmine Gallo, author of The Apple Experience, there are 5 Steps of Service that every Apple Store staff member need to follow:
A = Approach Customers with a personalized, warm welcome
P = Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs
P = Present a solution for the customer to take home today
L = Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns
E = End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return
Also, remember rule #2 above? This video is a great example of it:
Another company with a great customer experience is Amazon. Always trying to quickly answer its customers, Amazon also innovates on the customer interaction, like this recent case in which an Amazon employee role played as superhero Thor while dealing with a customer.
Companies that are not currently focusing on their customers experience should begin to do it as soon as possible in order to get more loyal customers while also improving their products and services.
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