What does “improving customer experience” mean? If you ask 3 people, you’ll probably get 3 different answers, such as:
- Building customer loyalty
- Creating advocates, evangelists and raving fans
- Generating great word of mouth exposure
Ultimately, it is our customers who define our success — our job is to create a relationship with our customers and drive them toward success. We need to focus our business on creating and delivering experiences that are relevant, meaningful and memorable to our customers. A good place to start is with the four laws of customer experience.
The Four Laws of Customer Experience
- Every interaction creates a personal reaction — Avoid the trap of viewing every customer as a rational, logical actor. Remember: Mr. Spock is a fictional character! Keep in mind that in addition to their logical side, people are have a very strong emotional side — in fact, over 50% of all purchase decisions are emotional! Therefore, we need to understand our customers holistically. They are influenced by the same things that we are — the economy, family, faith, success at work, etc. Every interaction with customers leaves an impression…be sure that you are making an emotional connection with them!
- Don’t blindly follow the “HiPPO” (by the way HiPPO stands for the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) — We’ve all been there, discussing a product or service, when the HiPPO appears. Whether the focus is on product feature, packaging, functionality, or something else, the HiPPO appears. That’s what the boss is paid to do, right? To give their opinion on what those customers really need. Often times, these HiPPOs make it into the final product simply because that’s what the boss wanted. HiPPOs aren’t always right or wrong, but they should not be the sole guiding principle. Don’t sit around some table gathering opinions. Break outside your four walls to truly understand the customer. Go out into the market to the customers in their natural habitat! What do they find fascinating and desireable? Remember: the customer isn’t buying your opinions…they are buying the product/service that they want/desire.
- Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers – While avoiding the HiPPO requires an external focus, delivering a great customer experience first require an internal focus on your employees. Customer experience is the result of a fully-engaged employee. Don’t blame the employees for a sub-par customer experience…fix the environment. What is the best place to start? Make it easy for employees to do the right thing! Empower employees to make decisions. Not only will they be more engaged and take on more responsibility,but your customers will have a much better experience.
- You can’t fake it – Customer experience is about a developing, maintaining, and leveraging a relationship with your customers. You could craft a great experience strategy, but if your employees— from senior management to front-line employees — aren’t completely bought in, you will fail. Customer experience isn’t just an outward facing facade. It is a pervasive mindset that looks at everything you do with a focus first on the customer — from sales & marketing to operations to finance to HR, your primary focus should be to delight your customers.
80% of companies believe that they deliver a superior customer experience…only 8% of customers agree. What do your customers say?