How to improve The old adage goes “the customer is always right.” While this is still true, we must update the sentiment to stay current with the ever-changing business world. “The customer is always right but now it’s your job to know what they need before they do and figure out the most memorable way for them to experience it.” Well, perhaps it’s too long for an updated version of the saying, but you get the idea.
The concept of consumer experience may seem self-explanatory, but perhaps you are asking yourself: how does this apply to me? How can I implement this concept in my business practice? Let’s take one example to illustrate the idea. In today’s fast-paced world many of us travel, a lot. When I think about travel, be it for business or pleasure, I want the best experience I can get. I want comfort; I want relaxation; I want convenience. These requirements are simply that – a requirement. It isn’t something I am hoping for, but rather something I’m expecting. So, how can an airline go above and beyond and win that highly sought after top of mind recall? Let’s look at Turkish Airlines; they provide the same service as any other airline, transportation from point A to point B, but they do it with a certain style. Upon boarding the flight, each passenger (in economy, business, and first class) finds a small travel kit waiting for him or her on the seat. After making themselves comfortable, passengers are given a Turkish Delight. This small treat is not essential for air travel, as one can certainly fly Delight-less, but it certainly is memorable.
The Turkish Delight example is but one example of the way Turkish Airlines focuses on its consumer experience. One interaction alone does not a memorable experience make if the rest of the interactions are not up to the mark.
Since we are not all in the business of air travel, below are three important ideas applicable in all industries.
Your customer wants to be intrigued. Customers find it appealing when they feel a product or service was created specifically for them. Find ways to draw your customer in and create a community for them. Make them feel sought after through marketing that attracts them without overwhelming them. Those who love a night at the opera were romanced by much more than the entertainment; they feel special, part of a unique community that allows them to end the evening feeling refreshed and free, not overwhelmed and burdened. They enjoy the show that happens both on stage and in the theater in general; getting dressed up for the night is equally as important as the drama unfolding on stage.
Your customer cares about presentation. The fine dining experience developed because food lovers care about something in addition to the food. Why does the same McDonalds fast food taste better when arranged on a plate and placed on a table set with fine crystal and a centerpiece rather than eaten out of a paper bag? That’s simple: it’s all in the presentation. Don’t forget that your customers see much more than the product placed in your store or the food placed before them at a restaurant. They notice the smell when they walk in. They notice a stray piece of trash in the corner. You may think it’s not their focus, but every inch of your business is a stage and while ‘on stage,’ you must ensure that the set is clean and the cast prepared. Why do you think musicians are clean cut and professional looking on stage during an orchestra concert? That’s because a concert-goer is not only listening to the music, but they are seeing the performers, feeling the plush chair they sit on, and more. The list goes on and on.
Your customer needs to know you care. We are all humans, and as humans we are bound to make mistakes. Companies are run by humans, so they too are subject to error. If and when your company makes a mistake, go the extra mile to correct it for your customer. Do they need to return something? Include a return-shipping label for such instances. Do they have to take an item in for recall? Make sure they are compensated for their financial loss as well as their loss of time and convenience. Don’t forget, at the end of the day the customer has put his or her faith and trust in you. If that trust gets broken, do all you can to repair and rebuild that bond. At Focus, we show that we really care for our customers by giving them our promise: Happy or Free.
For more on this subject, read The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore. Remember that at the end of the day the customer wants a Kodak moment, not just a photo. They want fine dining, not just a meal. They want a day at the cricket stadium not to see the game, but to experience it. Think back on your best memories and experiences and analyze why you remember it. What made you smile? What made your day? Pass along experiences that like to your consumers too and let us know: what are you doing to give your customers the most memorable experience you can?