Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to create the Wow in customer experiences.

Customer experiences have a massive impact on companies performance as a whole. Research by Ogilvy indicates that companies that delivered "wow" experiences, because of the great product and experience they offered, scored higher on retention ratios, 84% vs. 30% and cross-sell ratios, 82% vs. 16%, compared with companies that did not. Just take a look at brands like Zappos, Virgin, Apple and Amazon. It seems that they found their way in it. Curious about how to create the "wow" experience yourself?

In order to deliver great customer experiences maybe it is wise to first concentrate on employee satisfaction. You will need the full and continual commitment of your employees, because they are responsible for making it happen. Try this one: put purpose beyond profit. Most employees do not get excited of making more profit for their organization that day. But causes like "Helping People" or "Delivering Happiness'' or "Do the same things, but do them differently", can make their effort more valuable to them.

Of course the product itself has a lot to do with it. One cannot create "wow" experiences when angry customers are calling because of malfunctioning products. No matter how skilled and passionate your employees, you need to have a great product. Apple would not be the brand it is today without its great propositions. That is one part of the "wow". An other part comes when customers enter the Apple store and they are able to find, ask, try, tough and see everything and experience great service by great employees. These employees are like ambassadors of the brand, they are fans themselves.

Tom Ford, once the leading designer of Gucci, now designing under his own label, stated: "A brand is a memory". Customers do not only buy your products, they also buy comfort, status, an experience, security, you name it. Somethimes customers don't find the product that interesting at all. Sometimes it is perceived as a commodity. The experience of flying an airplaine is such an example. It is like riding a bus, in the air. So, in order to understand how to create a "wow" experience, we take a look inside a business which cannot directly be related to the customer contact business, but, as a matter in fact, it has a lot to do with customer contacts and experiences: the airliner business.

Look into the Virgin Atlantic case. From its start in the early eighties, this company strived to deliver the greatest customer experience possible. That comes with a limo service, which takes passengers form door-to-door, the best and most sophisticated inflight entertainment, more comfortable chairs, economy class as if it is a business class, great crew, massages and so on. Massages? Yes, massages. Traveling should be comfortable, passengers should enjoy it and should arrive well rested and relaxed on their destination.

Massages is used as a metaphor here, it is intended as an aspect customers don't expect to get during the experience, but they get it anyway. However it enhances customer experience, it can be a bit of a bottleneck for most organizations. It is costly. So here's a less costly thing: ice cream. (Also to be seen as a metaphor.) Virgin started serving small ice creams during the in-flight movie. Because people often enjoy an ice cream in a cinema and it would surprise them if they got it. So, to add an extra layer on the experience, Virgin gave the passengers ice creams and all passengers would remember that specific Virgin flight for a long time.

This is the point of this post: when you are crafting a customer experience, you don’t have to invent anything anew. Just be creative in crafting an experience by borrowing little popular snapshots of experiences from other sectors. It increases the chances of acceptance by your customers, because they are already familiar with it in another context.

1 comment:

  1. Treat the customer just the way you would like to be treated. I believe that to win in any market place you need to love your customers, treat them with respect and dignity..I think by means of this you can create the wow in customer experiences.
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