OK. So I will assume you have worked out the customer experience touchpoints (from your customers’ point of view) and that you now understand
- at which touchpoints your company is exceeding their expectations and where they are disappointed
- what emotions they are experiencing at each point
Making the key decisions
So, where are the biggest gaps?
Are there times where things go badly wrong? (That can actually become a wonderful opportunity for building trust- if you respond in the certain way. )
Which touchpoints do you believe are most important to the customer- from an experience perspective?
Which touchpoints are you able to influence most. (For example, while driving to / find the airport may be stressful, it would clearly take a lot more effort from Virgin to be able to influence that touchpoint. )
Designing a great customer experience
Ok. So the aim is to create an experience that your target customers enjoy so much that they buy more from you and they tell others. To do this you need:
- Input from a wide range of people (especially customer facing)
- Confidence that improvements you make really will match what your customers really want
A few things to bear in mind:
- Customers hate inconsistency more than anything. To be successful the experience needs to be consistently good.
- It does not make economic sense to try to exceed customer expectations at every touchpoint. Just choose a few areas where you will make the biggest impact.
- Customer experience is about emotions- work out how you wish your customers to feel at any point and then plan how you will achieve that.
- Touch, smell and the other senses are also very important. (You only need to experience the wave sounds of an Abercrombie and Fitch store or be annoyed by “holding” music to know that this is true!
- If there is pain- get it over quickly. The 2 elements they will remember most are the “peak” moment and the end – so make sure the end is good.
- Plan for when things go wrong- as they will.
The way that you handle errors/ problems can actually win you strong customer loyalty. For instance, 2 friends of mine were downgraded from business to economy on a long haul Virgin flight. Horrible! They were handed a personally signed fax from Richard Branson himself saying how mortified he was. Then, before the fight, the entire flight team apologised and offered them either a free return flight to S. Africa or 500,000 free air miles each. This showed that Virgin really cared. Now they go around telling everyone this story. Virgin won their strong loyalty.
- Give customers choice- it helps them to feel that they have control.
- Train and empower your staff to understand that you aim is to build long term loyalty. So right or wrong may not be relevant. A while ago I replaced a printer and asked if Sainsbury would take back over £100 of print cartridges from the old printer. I had had them for a few months. They were completely in the right to say No they would not take them. Am I likely to shop at Sainsbury again if I have a choice. No.
You will not get it exactly right fist time. Measure what works and what does not and hone it until you achieve your aim.
We have guided many companies to create memorable customer experiences that won them many more customers. If you would like help please call +44 (0)207 0604 006