I’m a student of the customer experience. I can’t go into any business without silently judging how they handle every aspect of my interaction. I blame this on two things – first my mom was a small business owner when I was younger and for her business the customer always came first. Second, I have worked for the past 15 years in an organization that drilled the customer experience into my being.
Regardless of the size of an organization, the customer experience needs to be a priority. Does a good customer experience cost more money? I would argue that in fact it costs more not to provide a good customer experience. According to Oracle’s 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report, 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
It is my experience that when something blows up into a big issue it generally started as something small. A single drop of water that fell into a crack and expanded into a catastrophic event for the customer involved. It doesn’t take much to fix the small issues, and in fact, most people are willing to forgive mistakes if the company acknowledges the error and works with the customer toward a solution.
While mistakes can happen for a myriad of reasons – technology, weather, ignorance – at the root of every solution is people. Customers don’t care that technology was the reason that their flight was overbooked; they care about how people are going to fix it. They don’t care that weather caused the power to go out in your restaurant and so you had to cancel their reservation – they care about how you dealt with that situation.
One look at a Facebook or Twitter feed will tell you that people are looking for connection in an increasingly digital world. Irrespective of whether you are conducting business in person or through digital channels you need to find a way to connect with the customer. So ask yourself a question: can your employees feel compelled to connect if you haven’t found a way to bond with them?
If you want your customers to be raving fans of your brand, you first need to be a raving fan of your brand and the people behind it. You need to create a culture where employees can become raving fans. If your employees feel a connection to the work that they are doing they are more likely to look for ways to create special experiences and solutions for your customers.
You need to be a fan of the people who work for you. You need to find a way to balance results and people so that caring becomes a part of your culture – caring not only for the bottom line, but for the people that create your success. Show your employees that you are here to do the right thing by them, making it easy for them to make the decision to do the right thing by your customers. At the end of the day it is the human connection in a digital age that makes people feel compelled to tell the story of their great experience.