Jeff Bezos said famously, “if you do build a great experience, customers will tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”
All of us experience this as a customer when we experience a not-so-good service. Every time we stand in a queue for a long time, especially in today’s digital-first world we tell our world how terrible was the experience. Similarly, we spread the word around when a brand delivers a product earlier than expected, accepts returns without a question and provides us with a seamless experience right from researching about a potential buy till we consume the service or the product. This is a great theory all business leaders know and most of them believe. However, when it comes to delivering the experience, they fail to earn the respect of their customers. What can they do differently?
Are the Leaders at the top passionate about customer delight?
Richard Branson has said, “Good customer service starts at the top. If your senior people don’t get it, even the strongest links down the line can become compromised.”
All leaders when asked about the importance of customer experience, they are articulate about its importance. However, they fail to institute mechanisms to track customer engagement. As a result, employees in the frontline and their supervisors showing superior customer service do not get explicit recognition in the organisation. Leaders do not run programmes to make continual improvements in service quality and customer experience. Their priorities are tilted towards other aspects of the business. The actors within the organisation and the customers are able to read the subtle message.
Accordingly, the organisation cannot deliver macro effects like customer loyalty, advocacy factor and hence, revenues and efficiency such as low cost of acquisition of new customers.
Focus on micro experiences
Google had run an advertising campaign some time ago which highlighted the fact that life is lived in moments. We don’t live life by years, months or days rather by moments. Experiences of a moment stay in our minds and we make decisions based on those residues in our hearts. We decide if we should buy a product or a service based on our past experiences or after recommendations of someone we trust. At each move of a customer, there is a moment of truth. Some organisations focus on these, design those moments well and take good care to deliver those moments well.
Companies use audiovisual experiences such as the colour schema, shape, size and texture of the product or the user interface. They use various audio cues, certain kinds of tone and language; sometimes they are able to integrate flavour and odour in delivering value to their customers so that their sensory experience is positive.
Sometimes great products do not work well just because customer issues were not addressed promptly. Companies try to differentiate their offering based on their communication – they are able to connect either with the passion of their customer or the pain their customer goes through. Since our attention spans are dropping, there is a very short window of time available to deliver a positive experience.
It has to make commercial sense
Steve Jobs had said, “Get closer than ever to your customers; so close that you can tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” This will be such a delight for the customer, isn’t it?
Delivering customer delight calls for building a great team, establishing the culture of customer focus and running the required systems and processes. Though all these investments promise long term value for the organisation, in the short term, it is a steep climb. Not every organisation has the appetite to bite into this.
Hence, one may have to think of innovative methods of revenue generation to sustain the practices of customer delight. Unless we find a commercially viable solution, all these can remain in the theory and as a wish-list. Only the organisations with deep pockets will monopolise generating the macro effects out of the micro experiences.