Delivering Positive Customer Experience

Delivering Positive Customer Experience

Successful companies have historically offered the right product at the right price at the right place and with the right promotion to win business. Optimizing the four Ps of the traditional marketing mix is no longer enough. Companies must also deliver great experiences to customers before, during and after the sale to differentiate themselves in the market. Customers that have great experiences with companies, on average, spend 30% more with them. Positive customer experience then is not just a good idea, it is good business.

What is customer experience? Customer experience is the set of perceptions a customer has about a company during every interaction. Successful companies are obsessed with delivering positive experiences to customers. Positive experiences lead to competitive advantage and customer loyalty. For example, while Zappos sells shoes online, it works to create positive customer experiences with a 365-day return policy and free shipping (both ways). It also promises orders to be delivered in 4-5 days, but regularly upgrades customers to overnight shipping.

Why is customer experience important? Positive customer experience enables companies to attract more, retain more and sell more. It costs eight times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain one. The fastest way to accelerate revenue and profit growth is to sell more to existing customers while simultaneously working to acquire new ones. In the past, unhappy customers would tell 8-10 other people about a bad experience. Today, they may tell thousands or even millions of people about it over the Internet.

For example, baggage handlers for United Airlines damaged Dave Carroll’s $3,500 Taylor guitar. When three UAL employees showed indifference to Carroll, he wrote a song about the experience and posted it on YouTube (“United Breaks Guitars”). The video was viewed 25,000 times on the first night. Carroll’s story was later picked up by the national media and the video was viewed 12M times. UAL’s stock subsequently dropped 10% causing a $180M decrease in market value. Carroll had a bad customer experience with UAL and told millions of people about it.

In the age of the Internet and social media, success will be based on how well companies rise to meet the demands and needs of customers. The “digital natives” (people born into technology) have higher expectations than the “digital immigrants” (people assimilated into technology). To deliver great customer experiences to both, companies must invest in people, systems and training to ensure interactions are consistent, relevant and simple across all channels and devices. The three steps to creating positive customer experiences include:

  • Vision – Create a vision of the perfect customer experience with every function (marketing, sales, services, etc.) and at every interaction (direct, mobile, social, etc.). Compare the perfect vision against reality. The difference is what you work on every day. Each interaction is an opportunity to build relationships and establish trust.
  • Feedback – Ask customers for feedback about their experience. Alter the vision of perfection based on the feedback. During interactions, work to learn everything possible about customers to positively change or influence the relationship. Most interactions only last seconds or minutes, so having the right information is critical.
  • Execution – Deliver what the customer wants. Exceed the customer’s expectations whenever and wherever possible; e.g., provide them with videos on how to use and get more from your product or service. While exceeding customer expectations is important, consistently meeting them is far more important.

Every interaction, crisis or opportunity, is a chance to create a positive experience the customer will remember forever.

All contents copyright © 2012, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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One Response to Delivering Positive Customer Experience

  1. Layne Tilley says:

    Hello There. I found your blog using Bing. This is a really well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

    Like

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