“Customer Experience” is one of the biggest buzz phrases in business today. Some large companies have even installed a Chief Experience Officer in the executive suite. But providing a complete customer experience is not limited to large businesses; small businesses can play in the arena as well.
What is a Customer Experience?
Customer experience goes beyond service; a customer experience is the complete experience you can give your customer from the design and delivery of your product or service, the physical atmosphere of your workplace, the way you communicate with your customers, and how you handle resolving problems. The end goal is to create a completely positive image in the mind of your customer who will then recommend you to others.
What is WISER?
Dan Gingiss, in his book The Experience Maker, suggests using a WISER approach to designing and delivering a complete customer experience:
Although humor is subjective, the human mind is designed to respond to novelty. Create messages that catch your customers off-guard, tickle their brains, or stand out from your competitors. While walking into Chicago’s Wrigley Field on a 100-plus degree day in July, a vendor’s come-on was, “Ice-cold peanuts. Get your ice-cold peanuts here.” That’s a witty attention getter.
Just as our brains respond to novelty, they also crave pleasurable sensory experiences. How can you address multiple senses when interacting with customers? Your favorite bakery or restaurant has this one nailed, but have you noticed that clothing retailers put their most touchable fabrics out front? Home service businesses often insist on neat, clean uniforms for their staff. Virtually any business can create an immersive experience.
A previous Biz Tip addressed the issue of how to get customers to share your social media messages with others. Customers are more likely to share excellent experiences and disappointing ones, but rarely share mediocre interactions. And if you are designing visual messages, remember the trinity of images people are most likely to share: kids, animals, and food. If your business wouldn’t naturally share images of those types, remember that photos of people in action (not just vehicles and equipment) are more shareable.
Being extraordinary does not mean spending a lot of money. It’s about truly solving your customers’ problems better than anyone else can. Examine everything your business does from designing your website to delivering your product or service to billing and invoicing. Are you doing everything you can in every corner of your business to make it easier for your customer to transact business with you?
What happens when a problem arises? How you respond to a dissatisfied customer is a crucial part of the customer experience. If you solve it quickly, completely, and in an extraordinary way, you likely have a customer for life and one who will recommend you to others. If you make customers jump through hoops, call you when they prefer email, or fail to respond immediately, you risk negative word of mouth and loss of business. We can’t please everyone always, but honest, swift efforts are what most customers appreciate.
A positive customer experience doesn’t necessarily require all the WISER elements to be in place, but the more you can address, the more likely your customers are to have a positive attitude toward your business.
Help is Available
If you’d like tips for creating a complete customer experience, your local Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network advisor is ready to provide no-cost, confidential assistance anywhere in the state. Click here to sign up and find your local advisor.
About the Author: Paul spent 25 years with an entrepreneurial-minded small business in the educational publishing market that attained an international footprint and experienced sustained, substantial growth. While in the publishing industry, Paul served as Editor-in-Chief, Chief Marketing Strategist, Product Development Specialist, and Instructional Designer. His business specialties include marketing strategy formulation and deployment, staff development, and business growth strategy.