“Businesses today must fight harder than ever to stop customer defections, increase same-store sales and build customer loyalty,” according to Pete Bosse, PhD: a consultant specializing in improving the customer experience. When confronted by customer defections, Pete identifies the root cause of poor decisions that usually lead to bad customer experiences. According to Bosse, “The decisions can often be traced to a failure of leadership, some sort of process breakdown or attributed to poor training or policies gone awry.”
Bosse offers ten suggested areas for businesses to explore in creating a unique and different customer experience to improve business results.
- Offer added value — Enterprise car rental offers bottles of water to customers waiting in line. Buffalo Wild Wings offers 45-cent wings every Tuesday at most locations.
- Provide human contact — Walmart positions a human greeter at the entry of each store. USAA call center personnel answer promptly and remain on the phone until all business is concluded. Enterprise agents accompany you outside to your car rental.
- Consider using EDLP — Walmart has successfully used everyday low pricing (EDLP) to expand globally. Costco uses EDLP combined with a membership fee to provide value.
- Engage the senses — Starbucks uses freshly brewed coffee to address smell while Costco uses free food samples to appeal to taste.
- Create your own currency — Airline miles have been wildly successful for decades and Kohl’s dollars are redeemable during your next visit to Kohl’s.
- Listen and respond — Use social media to create a dialogue and build relationships with your customers, but don’t expect quick results. Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Crush It, says most companies act like young men after a first date expecting a quick social media ROI when it’s really a long-term engagement leading toward marriage.
- Make it easy — Best Buy offers trade-in value to customers for their used electronics, games and cellular phones to help customers acquire the next generation product.
- Recover from disappointments — Trader Joes gladly replaced molded cheese with no questions asked. McCormick & Schmick’s is quick to remove an underwhelming appetizer or entree from the bill. Both know how to turn lemons into lemonade.
- Treat customers nice — Chick-fil-A and Ritz Carlton employees respond to customer interactions with “my pleasure.”
- Map customer touch-points — If you do nothing else, identify and choreograph the customer experience that you want to deliver. Otherwise, the touch-points will evolve based on operational or financial constraints. Think how Disney handles queuing lines: entertaining hundreds of people standing in line, despite hot weather, by leveraging an opportunity to excite and engage their customers.
The customer experience is entirely about engaging your customers in a way that provides a unique experience, warrants a return visit and culminates in positive customer recommendations to others.
Pete Bosse, PhD (aka DrTeamwork) is a consultant specializing in stopping customer defections and improving the customer experience. Contact info 612-810-2524, DrTeamwork@Gmail.com, http://about.me/DrTeamwork, Twitter http://twitter.com/DrTeamwork.