If you love data, then you will really love this first part...
While this only skims the surface of the researched benefits of customer experience, these facts paint a good picture of the results. Creating exceptional customer experiences is essential to keep the company you work for relevant. If you want to stay going and growing in your field, you have to think about customer experience in a real, tangible, consistent way.
The way customers experience your brand matters.
The way customers experience you as an ambassador of that brand matters.
In fact, the way customers experience you as a person matters! Beyond just the reputation of your brand, your personal reputation is at stake here. If you want to be known as the kind of person who makes a difference in each and every encounter, then what better place to start than in the place where you spend so much of your time? Your workplace can be the backdrop to some of the biggest difference-making moments in your life. It can be the setting where you make the most impact, in big and small ways, on the people around you. So while the customers who stick with your brand are at stake in the experience, so is your own personal growth and reputation.
Together, they’re the key to improving business, enhancing the experience at work, becoming a brand customers can’t live without, and ultimately making the impact you want to make.
The Customer Migration
Like most kids, I want my dad to be proud of me. I mean, no matter how old we get, we still get a thrill when we know our parents are proud, don’t we? I recently called my dad to talk about some of the research I’d done to prepare a talk on creating an exceptional customer experience. When I shared some research about what motivates customers to migrate away from a business or brand, he listened and replied, “Oh wow honey, that’s great.”
Of course, I knew he was listening and interested, but I could tell he didn’t find the research nearly as fascinating as I did. That’s why I was surprised when he called me just a week later exclaiming, “Elizabeth! It’s true!”
That week, he’d been to a restaurant to order a new menu item. When he got to the counter and placed his order, the girl working behind the register shrugged and with an irritated tone said, “We don’t have that. What else do you want?”
My dad restated his order with a little more explanation this time. “It’s an item you’re advertising on TV. I heard about it and wanted to come in to try it out.”
The girl sighed, clearly unwilling to look into the item my dad was trying to order. Frustrated, she replied, “Well, I’m telling you we don’t have that. So, what else do you want?”
Right then and there, my dad made the decision: He would never go back to that restaurant again.
“Because of the way the girl spoke to me,” he explained on the phone. “I hate the way it made me feel.”
That’s how quickly it happens, friends. Customers are migrating away from brands faster today than ever before. Keeping your customers happy may be harder today than it’s ever been! We live in a customer culture, meaning people expect to get what they want when they want it. And now, that’s how they expect it. It’s the norm. Two-day shipping, same-day delivery, 24-hour customer service, cash back right away—there’s an immediacy in everything we do. Expectations are so incredibly high for brands and businesses that it’s almost impossible to fully deliver.
Sometimes, delivery is late,
or the product isn’t in stock,
or the discount didn’t apply,
or the phones are down,
or the employee makes a mistake.
And just like that, it’s done. One bad experience and the customer will blow you up online, tweet you, one-star review you, tell their friends to avoid you, and vow never to come back. It’s not always fair and it’s certainly not always right, but this is the reality we’re working in. Feelings are leading customers to migrate to and from brands at warp speed, for better or for worse.
But you don’t need me to tell you that, do you? You know because you’ve been a customer. You’ve experienced it. You’ve felt it.
Think about the last positive customer experience you had.
When the person in the drive thru line offered your kids free dessert because of the long wait.
When the airline employee went above and beyond to help you to your flight.
When the customer service rep stayed on the phone until the problem really was solved.
When the bank teller greeted you and your family members by name.
When the kid at the checkout line loaded your groceries in the rain.
When the car mechanic took the extra time to put air in your tires.
How did that experience make you feel?
Understood, Cared for,
Now, think about the opposite. When was the last time you had a really bad customer experience?
When the person at the register never looked up to greet you.
When the delivery driver left your packages in the rain.
When the customer service rep never called you back with the answer to your question.
When the doctor kept forgetting your name.
When the waiter never got your order right.
When the person bagging your groceries didn’t handle your items with care.
How did that experience make you feel?
Like one of many people in a long line of customers to be helped.
See, when it comes to the customer experience, feelings matter… a lot!
Your feelings are what help you notice the difference between good and bad. They’re your indicators. You notice the difference in feeling when you walk away from a great customer experience and a not-so-great customer experience. Your feelings are what you remember.
Even science backs me up on this! 95% of the decisions we make each day are made unconsciously. In other words, they’re habits. That means, only 5% of the time are we really debating the decisions we’re making. In those moments, we stop and think. But 95% of the time, we’re moving on autopilot. What’s our greatest driver for the decisions we make in that space? Our feelings! They’re the biggest motivator in making our unconscious decisions.
That means, most of the time, we’re making decisions on what brands we want to come back to based on the way we felt the last time we were there. A customer’s feelings about a brand are born out of their experiences with it, and those feelings will ultimately determine their decisions. The customer is driving the car, but the feelings are acting as the GPS, deciding which direction they’ll go when it comes to your brand. So, if they feel unwelcome, undervalued, or disrespected in their experience with you, they’ll look for a better feeling somewhere else.
And chances are, they’ll find it! Because if you’re not paying attention to the feelings your customers get from their experience with you, somebody else out there is. And your loss will be their gain.
So, what do we do about it?
Well, if we want customers' decisions to change, we have to change the experience that’s driving their feelings. We have to do what’s in our power to improve their experience, leaving them with a feeling that impacts them far beyond their interaction with us.
We have to change the customer experience at our businesses and brands for the better.
To read more, grab your copy of The Power of Customer Experience
or check out The Power of Customer Experience Video Series to create a book club for your team or organization.