Creating the Ideal Customer Experience

OPENforum has another great article, this time about how to design and implement the best possible customer experience that will turn a client into a fan.  Read it on the OPENforum website here, or scroll down.

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More and more successful businesses are coming to understand the marketing momentum comes about by focusing on creating rich customer experiences – the kind that make customer go out and talk about your business voluntarily.

While it’s important to have great products and services, it’s probably not enough. You’ve also got to wrap those great products and services in a total customer experience that keeps them coming back for more.

It’s a tall order really because there is no one right customer experience, you must find a way to tap, bottle and promote the little things that delight. There are however, some practices that might allow you to discover and create your ideal customer experience.

Have a plan

The first job is the design what you want your ideal customer experience to look and feel like. Literally, how do you want the customer to feel about doing business with your organization? Is it confident, warm, giddy, amazed, amused? These are all potential elements of your overall brand and certainly should come into play here.

How will they experience your core point of differentiation? Okay, this assumes you have one and lean heavily on it. It may, in fact, be the most important part of the experience so think long and hard about this one.

Chart the touch points

Many times the positive brand experience built during the sales process falls flat on it’s face when the customer starts to work with the implementation team or meets Helga from finance.

To create an ideal customer experience you need to take a look at every way your business comes into contact with a customer, and some additional ways that you should be coming into contact with a customer and make certain that each of these contacts or touchpoints is designed as an intentional marketing experience.

Think about it, how you present your invoice to a customer is potential opportunity to build on the total experience.

Plug the Gaps

So, now that you have your customer experience plan and you’ve looked at all the ways you can and do come into contact with your customers, it’s time to plug the gaps. In other words, create processes and experiences that represent and intensify the total customer experience.

The idea here is to move prospects logically along the path of becoming a customer to the point where they are so thrilled they volunteer to become advocates and referral sources.

There are many places where customers can fall off the path and it’s your job to fix those gaps.

Measure the results

One of the easiest ways to measure the success of your customer experience plan is to create a set of metrics that point to the success or failure of very tangible elements.

Yes, it’s important to set goals and measure things like revenue and profit, but even steady growth in these metrics can mask the true health of the customer experience.

The customer experience is measured by monitoring much more granular things such as number of testimonials, receivable aging, referrals made and converted, results achieved and attendance at customer events.

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What’s your reaction to this? Have you had a particularly memorable experience with a company? How did it affect the way that you feel about that company?  Tell us here!

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