Customer Experience News & Trends

4 ways to wow your customers

Do you go far enough to make the customer experience remarkable? These companies do.

They might have gone an extra mile to wow customers, but they didn’t have to go a thousand miles to do it.

Even better: Neither do you.

Nearly any company can add the personal touches these did that made a difference.

A penny was worth a thousand smiles

Pangea customers had some concerns about security and ease of doing business when new regulations hit their industry. Customer service leaders and front-line pros knew the changes were coming and were equally concerned … and proactive.

Under normal circumstances, Pangea service pros could handle customer requests and concerns quickly and electronically. But these circumstances were different, and their response had to be, too.

Pangea let customers know they were ahead of the issues and put a process into place to avoid glitches. The process: Front-line customer service pros and a manager visited several bank branches each day for weeks to do a face-to-face “penny test.” They deposited a penny into as many as 30 customers’ accounts to make sure they were secure.

It was time-consuming, tedious and exactly what customers needed.

“You have to be nimble,” said Stacey Duckett, Pangea’s director of customer service. “Fortunately, we have lots of people who are willing to do what it takes to take care of our customers.”

Tip for you: Exceptional circumstances offer the opportunity to do something exceptional for customers. The fix might take more time, but it leaves a lasting impression.

Challenge employees

It might sound counter-intuitive to make employees so instrumental in creating the ideal customer experience that you tell them to give customers more stuff for free. But it’s an experience that pays off for Shake Shack.

The restaurant spends barely any money on marketing, and focuses more on the quality of food and the customer experience its employees provide to be successful, according to Tiffani Bova, author Growth IQ.

“Randy Garutti, Shake Shack CEO, said to a roomful of its employees at the opening of its 66th Shake Shack in Boston in 2015: ‘Put us out of business because you are so damn generous with what you give the people who walk in this door. If there’s a kid crying, who’s going to walk over with a free cup of custard? I challenge you to put us out of business with how generous you are. Go do it. Give away free stuff,'” explained Bova.

Tip for you: Giving products away is less about free stuff for customers and more about reacting to what’s affecting them when you work with them. Recognize and react to what they’re experiencing to make their experience with you better.

Make Mom proud

Mom set boundaries based on love. And author Jeanne Bliss says companies that follow Mom’s rules create the best customer experiences.

“They remove practices that might curb the extension of care, or limit employees to act in good conscience,” Bliss says in her recent book Would You Do That to Your Mother? “They work to reduce boundaries and pressures that prohibit customer-driven decision-making. Their actions honor the human at the end of their decisions, establish a balanced relationship with customers and partners, and put employees in positions to act at work like they act at home.”

Tip for you: Regularly review the rules and policies you have that guide each step of the customer experience. Eliminate or re-work those that limit employees’ ability to act in good conscience.

Move complaints up the chain

When Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz came back as head of the chain, he focused on improving the customer experience to help the company regain some lost ground. His unorthodox move: He asked employees and customers to email him with messages about what they thought was wrong with the company.

“Within days he had received more than five thousand e-mails—and he took in all the complaints,” according to Bova. “He also called individual Starbucks stores across the United States and queried them about their problems.”

He paid attention to the two most common complaints: inconsistency in quality and incompetency in service. Then he put a plan – including a chain-wide shutdown for several hours to retrain employees – in place to improve them so the whole customer experience improved.

Tip for you: Don’t just fix customer complaints. Move them up the chain of command (once they’re resolved) so anyone who has influence on or cares about the customer experience can help make changes.

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