The success or failure of our businesses is directly related to the beliefs customers have about them. They’re comprised of all the interactions and experiences customers have with us, our products, and our services.
Regardless of whether a customer speaks with us, or anyone else in our organization, the voice that speaks back to him should be representative of what we want the customer to believe about us and what we stand for. It stands to reason that the ‘face’ we show and the ‘voice’ we present to our customers should be a reflection of the value we offer them – and that goes beyond providing good customer service. It’s consistently providing a good customer experience. The operational word is consistently. It includes everything from the very first time a potential customer meets us, to where you are in your relationship with him/her today. Notice too, that I didn’t say ‘customer service.’ I said ‘customer experience,’ because what it boils down to is how customers perceive their interactions with us; and the effect is cumulative. It encompasses everything from the look of our websites and how easy they are to navigate, to face to face experiences both before and after a sale to how they feel they were treated the day they did not buy from us.
You see, proactive companies like Amazon, American Express, Zappos, and a host of others, understand that while good customer service can make or break a sale, providing a good customer experience is what keeps people coming back for more. They set expectations high. They consistently live up to their brand’s promise, and in most cases over-deliver on it. They’ve raised the bar for the rest of us by demonstrating how to successfully integrating customer needs and perceptions into their philosophy and by doing so, provide added value. And, as we all know, the more value we bring to our customers, the more valuable we become to them.
We can do that too. Regardless of whether you sell on line or off, deal with products or services, are a solopreneur, own a large company or are somewhere in between, we can all learn from this model and find ways to emulate it for our own businesses. I’m sure we can all think of a few things we could do differently to make our customers happier. I bet we also know a few businesses that have earned our loyalty. Ever ask yourself why?
What do they do differently? Do you tell their story? What about you? Anyone telling yours? What would they say?