Delivering a Great Customer Experience Might be Easier than You Think
Just Don’t Screw It Up
Sometimes, all it takes is not screwing something up to create a great customer experience.
We’ve written throughout this series that Chick-fil-A’s reputation for delivering a great customer experience is not about solving issues, it’s about avoiding issues in the first place. Add in some manners, speed, and efficiency, and you’ve got Chick-fil-A’s secret recipe for wowing the lunch crowd.
While this has always been the case for customer-first companies like Chick-fil-A, because of the supply chain issues and tight labor market experienced since the start of the recent pandemic, most consumers extended their forgiving (“just don’t screw it up”) mindset toward nearly all their retail interactions.
While today’s customers are more demanding, they’ve also experienced poor service with so many transactions that when a company simply meets their expectations, they often feel like it was a five-star experience.
Service was slow.
Choices were limited.
Lines were long.
Given the issues consumers faced with seemingly every retail transaction, they’re pleasantly surprised when an experience simply goes off without a hitch: They find what they’re looking for and then get through the checkout process quickly and without hassles? That’s a five-star experience today!
To your frontline, this means you can create very good or even great customer experiences simply by not screwing “it” up. (Remember: Customer-first companies make “it” easy.)
Again, Just Don’t Screw “It” Up
For receptionists, this might simply mean transferring calls properly and staying on top of these transfers.
For those in the repair business, this might mean setting customer expectations early and keeping them informed when a supply chain issue changes the estimated completion date.
For salespeople, this might mean regularly touching base with customers waiting on custom orders and keeping them in the loop.
For everyone dealing with customers, this might mean actively listening to their needs, getting them what they need in an efficient manner, or even simply returning their calls promptly. (Yes, something as easy as responding quickly to their voicemail can make a positive difference to today’s consumer.)
It’s the Little Things
In the Exceeding Expectations post we wrote that getting the little things right the first time puts you on a path towards exceeding customer expectations. When you closely examine your customer service issues and find the root causes, it’s easy to see that most of the bad customer outcomes aren’t the result of major screw ups. They’re the accumulation of a few minor inconveniences coupled with a belief by the customer that the person or people they’re dealing with just don’t care. Even if your team does care about the customer, the customer’s perception is all that matters.
Of course, showing you care doesn’t take much.
Stay on top of calls you’ve transferred.
Update your customers on their repairs.
Keep your customers in the loop on their custom orders.
Respond to customer voicemails.
Respond to customer emails and texts.
Respond to your customers before you respond to your coworkers or even your boss.
Just don’t screw it up!
Certainly, it’s a fine line all companies are walking today. Make zero mistakes, earn a five-star review. Make just one mistake, and some customers will crush you online.
A ridiculously simple way to prevent customer service issues from occurring in your business is to focus on convenience. Convenience, in and of itself, is good customer service. We know this is true because inconvenience equals a bad customer experience.
Need an example of how convenience equals a great customer experience? Look no further than the Zappos return policy. The de facto originator of the no-hassle, no-haggle, free returns, Zappos makes it ridiculously easy to return anything, anytime, no questions asked.
Prior to Zappos, returning something you didn’t like or want usually required an original receipt, proof the product was defective when you bought it, three forms of identification, a sworn statement from your priest, rabbi, or pastor, and a 30% restocking fee. Zappos (and now nearly every other online retailer) allows returns just because you feel like returning it.
Of course, these free and easy web returns forced brick and mortar retailers like Walmart to make returns easy. They no longer ask you a lot of questions, they don’t treat you like a criminal, they just make it convenient; and convenience means simplicity.
Do You Run a Convenience Store?
Ask yourself a few questions as you look closely at your business:
- Can everyone easily do business with us?
- Is our website intuitive and easy – even for new visitors?
- Would a new customer walking into our business know where to go, know what to do, and be able to find the right person?
This last point is known as “new customer onboarding.” If you run a real convenience store, like a 7-11, new customers can easily figure everything out quickly. There is no learning curve necessary for new customers at 7-11. Your business, however, could very well be intimidating to a new customer and you wouldn’t even know it.
You see your business every day. You know where everything is and how everything works. So do your employees and your regulars. New customers, of course, may have no clue; and it’s new customers who represent your growth. Therefore, making it convenient for them to spend their money is critical to your business’s success.
If it’s inconvenient for a new customer to do business with you, this is akin to screwing “it” up.
For managers and owners, making sure new customers can easily spend money with you should be a top priority. Whether at your clothing store, your coffee shop, your hotel, or your service drive in a car dealership, it should be clear to new customers where they need to go or to whom they need to speak. This might include having clearly marked check-in areas, easy-to-discover pricing, or always-staffed cashier stands.
Because if it’s not convenient, and your new customers become frustrated during their first experience with you, they may never return. (As you may recall from the First Impressions Matter post, first impressions do matter.)
This post is part of a series of excerpts from Ridiculously Simple Customer Experience, a book written for everyone in any organization that has customers. That is, it was written for those in both the public and private sector; and for everyone in these organizations. From the frontline, customer-facing employees to the CEO and board of directors.
Each chapter in Ridiculously Simple Customer Experience concludes with Key Learnings and Chapter Exercises to make certain you and your team take the efficient path to becoming Customer-First. As you’ll learn in this ridiculously short book, building and maintaining a CX juggernaut isn’t hard… in fact, it’s ridiculously simple. Buy it now on Amazon!