Customer Experience News & Trends

Expert’s 3 proven ways to boost customer loyalty

Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to build loyalty.

Almost all customers who come to you want a little more than a product or service. They care about the experience, too. They want a conversation and feeling that their business matters.

“Everything speaks to them,” said Dennis Snow, author of Unleashing Excellence, when he recently spoke at the ICMI Contact Center Expo & Conference. “Every detail of the service experience is saying something about your organization.”

Snow spent more than two decades working at Walt Disney World, helping create special experiences that keep generations of customers coming back. His ideas can be incorporated into almost any kind of organization because the focus is on the customer, not the function.

Here are Snow’s three top ways to create experiences that ensure loyalty:

1. Change your perspective

“Look at everything you do through the lens of the customer,” Snow said.

Make decisions based on what looks best to them.

As an example, many years ago while tidying a room, a housekeeper at one of the Disney hotels took it upon herself to “tuck in” the stuffed animals that families had accumulated during their visit. You can imagine the pleasant surprise for families when they came back to their rooms after a long day in the park to find the “sleeping” stuffed animals and a handwritten note saying she thought they looked tired and wanted a rest.

She did it because she thought it was something guests might like — seeing things through their lenses. Once she revealed it (a little embarrassed, even!) in a staff meeting where employees were asked to share ways they make customers feel special, it caught on.

2. Pay attention to details

Companies and front-line staffers need to pay attention to details because customers do.

For instance, an award-winning hospital might have beautiful landscaping, but soda cans littering the landscape may be taking away every good impression it could make on arriving patients and their loved ones. Or a door left open to a messy stock room in a store will turn off customers because it appears the employees don’t care as much about what goes on behind the scenes.

It goes beyond the physical appearance of your website, facility and/or customer-facing employees. It’s also in the tone that’s set with customers.

Saying the right words, or giving customers the right directions isn’t enough in most situations. They notice details such as the tone used and attention given to them. Customers want experiences where they’re the center of attention.

3. Create moments of ‘wow’

Customers have four levels of expectations when they do business with an organization through any channel. It’s only at the highest level that employees can create those “wow” moments, according to Snow. In fact, even if you meet expectations on the first three levels, it’s nearly impossible to gain points in customer satisfaction without conquering the fourth level.

Here’s what customers expect and how to deliver:

  1. Accuracy. Customers are looking for the right answers and information so they don’t have to contact you again.
  2. Availability. They expect it to be easy to buy from you, and get a hold of someone in a variety of ways when they need anything.
  3. Partnership. Customers want to hear and see that you care about their situation. That’s shown by listening closely and identifying what they need.
  4. Advice. This is where the magic happens. The other three expectations helped build the experience to a level where employees can teach customers something they didn’t know, treat them in a special way they didn’t expect or help them get more than they asked for.

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