what makes a great customer experience?

What Makes A Great Customer Experience?

Every time I am doing a Q&A post a keynote, I get this question. Every. Time. This, and the “how do I get my CEO on board?” We’ll cover that another day. Back to the topic at hand of what makes a great customer experience?

So, what is this thing called customer experience?

Customer Experience is the sum of all interactions a person has with your brand over their lifetime. 

It is how your customers actually experience your products, your services, your team members – your company. It is the ups and downs of their time dealing with your business.  

A good customer experience can give you a loyal customer, a great review, and free advertising… And we all know that it is way cheaper to keep a customer than to get a new one.

What makes a good customer experience? Or a great one?

We are firm believers that a good Customer Experience is most often simply about meeting a customer’s need and being easy to do business with. We believe that there are three elements to any customer experience.

  1. Did you make it easy for me?
  2. Were you helpful?
  3. How did the experience make me feel?

For instance:

I came into your store, and I found the product I was looking for, at the price that I expected, and I could check out easily.

That is a good customer experience. 

However, a bad customer experience is just a few missteps away. 

I came into your store and it was dirty. Your staff was rude to me. I found the product I was looking for, and it was at the price that I expected. I checked out as fast as I could, and I hightailed it out of there because it was such a bad customer experience.

And a great customer experience?

I came into your store and I was greeted by Joe. He was friendly but not pushy. He asked if he could help me find something and pointed me to the aisle where my product was. I found it easily and went to check out. Because you were fully staffed, I didn’t have to wait in much of a line to pay. It was a great customer experience. 

What we’ve found, time and time again is that your team members are the primary difference between a bad, a good and a great customer experience. We call it #EXdrivesCX (employee experience drives customer experience.) 

Let’s do a deeper dive on what those three elements look like in real life.

Question 1: Did you make it easy for me to do business with you?

There are so many examples of how companies make it hard for people to do business with them. This is one of the simplest things to fix, as the issues are usually process or procedure based. And we all know that you can change those things. For instance, I’ve recently been trying to update an address with my business bank. (I moved four years ago!) The way that they apparently work is that their bill pay services are a separate company from the actual bank. When I made my address update four years ago, it didn’t carry over to the bill pay service. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, five times now, to make that change. And I’ve simply given up. The outcome? For the first time since we started Chief Customer, we’re looking for a new business bank. If you can’t make updating an address easy across your multiple products, how hard will you be to work with if I have a complex problem?

Think about things like:

  1. How many times does someone have to try to make an update or change?
  2. Is your first contact resolution score real? Or are people being slighted out of telling you how many times they really had to try to do something?
  3. Stick to three steps or less. Three steps to get to anything on your site. Three steps to get to a live person on a phone call. 

Question 2: Were you helpful?

Helpful can be subjective – but isn’t that the entire purpose of customer experience? The sum of all experience I had with your company. My experiences are all subjective – because they are mine. And helpful is an easy thing to solve for. 

Look for things that are ancillary to the problem a customer is trying to solve. Look for things that are ancillary to a product a customer is trying to buy. You know that if someone buys caulk that there is a high probability that they will need to buy an applicator/a sponge/am edging tool. Offer them up – that is helpful. 

If you’re an insurance company, and your customer calls to change their home insurance – notice that they also have car insurance and offer to help them make that change. 

Helpful is about connecting the intelligence and experience you have with your products and solutions to the products and problems that your customers may face. Create the connectivity for them so that they don’t have to do the extra work. That is helpful.

Question 3: How did you make me feel?

This is my favorite discussion to have with executive teams. So many struggle with the concept of feelings and their customers. I’m not sure why, as we all know that if a company that we do business with doesn’t make us feel good about our interactions – we look for another company.

Feelings are also super subjective. But incredibly important.  And more often than not, your employees are either directly or indirectly delivering or designing the experiences that create those feelings. The way you make your employees feel about working for you will directly translate to how they make your customer feel. #EXDrivesCX.

Final Words

Answer the questions we’ve covered in this piece, and you can begin to design experiences that are uniquely yours and that will improve the customer experience for your company.

And if you need help, reach out to Chief Customer. We would love to help you!