Creating a New Customer Experience
Why is Starbucks so successful in selling you a $4.00 cup of coffee when McDonald’s charges $2.00? Why does a stay at a Ritz Carlton hotel seem much different than a stay at the Holiday Inn?
Why is Starbucks so successful in selling you a $4.00 cup of coffee when McDonald’s charges $2.00?
Why does a stay at a Ritz Carlton hotel seem much different than a stay at the Holiday Inn?
Today, many people would answer that it’s all about customer service but they are wrong! Both McDonald’s and Holiday Inn offer incredible customer service. However, Starbucks and Ritz Carlton understand something that many brands don’t – it’s all about the customer EXPERIENCE!
Customer experience has become a new small business buzzword, and I’m not sure that most organizations really get it. Service is what you offer your customers every day as a trained professional; it is personal and comes from the heart. Customer experience is about considering our customers’ experiences from the minute they make contact with our organization until they are done. This involves so many more people than just you.
Organizations that purposefully examine every customer touch point — the opportunities we have to influence the customer from the parking lot, to reception, to billing and many more — are those that will excel at customer experience. Companies that drive the experience messaging throughout every department and to every single worker regardless of title or contribution level (part time or full time) will inspire employees to help create a positive customer experience.
A 2013 study conducted by Gallup found that only 50% of Americans were engaged at what they do every day. By having everyone consider their specific customer touch points and how they can make them better will become more engaged at what they do and ultimately, the customer benefits.
The experience has to start with you as the business owner. Talk with as many people as you can (customers, employees, stakeholders, etc.) and ask, “What is the (fill in the name of your organization) experience?” Then figure out how to shatter the stereotype of the experience customers EXPECT to have with you, your department or with your organization. Ask yourself, “What small touch point could I focus on this week that will ultimately shatter that stereotype?”
Imagine going to a new restaurant that has been touted as the best in town. You arrive at 7:50 for an 8 p.m. reservation and are seated right on time. You go on to have the best service and possibly the best food you have ever eaten. At one point, the chef comes out to your table and explains how each of your dishes was prepared. The manager checks on you a few times. It’s perfect. After dinner, you proceed to go outside, you provide your parking ticket to the car valet, and your car arrives 55 minutes later! Isn’t that part of the overall experience? Of course it is. But let’s take this to the next step. It is now three months later and you have told hundreds of people to go to that new restaurant because the food is amazing and the service is outstanding. Then, you finish with one word. BUT! “…BUT your car will take forever to get to you after dinner.” I think my next book’s title should be, “What Comes After the But?”
So, what does this have to do with you and your business? Everything! The minute we get ourselves and our employees asking “What comes after the but” is the minute we start to become 100% customer-centric. “The receptionist is wonderful but I got lost in voicemail after that” or “I have always purchased my clothes from them but they have no clue who I am.” We need to examine the touch points mentioned earlier and imagine what the customer could say. To start to make a shift from service to experience, begin by examining those touch points and see the world through THEIR eyes not yours.
Certified Speaking Professional Jeff Tobe speaks, consults and trains with health care organizations around the world in designing and implementing the ideal patient experience. His latest book, “ANTICIPATE: Knowing What Customers Need Before They Do”,focuses on creating exceptional customer experiences. Jeff was chosen as one of the top 15 speakers in North America by readers of Meetings and Conventions magazine. For more information, visit JeffTobe.com.