In a world full of so much choice, how do you make your business standout? In our experience, savvy companies are using the customer experience as a means of distinguishing themselves from the competition. By offering a unique and unforgettable experience (no easy task!) they hope to be the one you'll remember and choose the next time you need something. So, whether it's a small business selling hand crafted chocolates, a midsize hardware chain competing with the giants or an international hotelier trying to be your home away from home, there's a good chance they're all focused on creating a memorable customer experience.
Here are the things that we think all business should be doing to standout in 2017!
- To all: Try doing something unexpected. Too often our interactions are routine, even when they're really good. Once in a while, we'd love to be surprised!
- Retailers: Greet us when we walk into your store and please ask if we need help. Yes, this seems simple, but too often it isn't happening - There is a way to proactively and gracefully engage us.
- Wireless carriers: Keep your promises simple and ensure you can deliver on them. Especially around the holidays, we are bombarded with one marketing promise after another but these are often misleading or filled with terms and conditions. Please be transparent with us.
- Call Centre Operators: Empower one employee to meet all of our servicing needs. The unnecessary transfer has become one of the largest irritants for callers and it CAN be stopped.
- To all who repair stuff: Provide self-serve options to book a technician. This is a huge time saver. Because if we call, you're likely going to transfer us... LOL). And we'd love two hour appointment windows!
- To all website owners: Please don't ask for feedback EVERY time we visit your site. We believe that surveys are a great tool when used effectively but we don't need to be asked to complete one every time we visit your site. In fact, this makes it much more likely that we will ignore your requests...
- To all: We'd love to know what is done with the feedback we do give you. While some companies do this well, it is an inconsistent practice. It takes time to complete a survey and we'd love to know what is done with the insights we provide. We trust something good!
- If you're using live chat: Please don't over engage us. It becomes an irritant to stay on line and constantly be asked if we need help. Once is OK, after that please leave it to us to decide if we need help.
- To Restaurant Owners: Consider asking about our experience before we leave. We'd love to start hearing our servers ask if there was anything the restaurant could have done differently.
- To all: Focus more on your customer service EXECUTION vs. PROMISE. It is great to see what you are committing to, but if you can't EXECUTE then it's an empty promise.
Here's a recent example of what unexpected look like for us:
Recently, my wife took our 2 year old son to McDonald's for a treat. My wife placed her order at the self-serve kiosk and was waiting with our son for her food and drink when an employee spotted her. Recognizing how challenging it is to ask a 2 year old to wait patiently - you know what I am talking about!, this employee insisted that my wife and son take a seat and relax and that she'd bring the food over when ready. How about that?!
And then this employee went a step further - I know! After returning with their food, she came back with crayons, stickers and paper to keep our son entertained. To say my wife was blown away is an understatement. Way to go McDonald's, you took an everyday experience and made it exceptional! This is exactly how to stand out! And yes, we made sure that employee and her leader(s) knew how we felt about it.
If you have any great stories on how companies are making the ordinary experience extraordinary, we'd love to hear about them! We know there are many great examples out there!
And on that note, we'd like to wish all of our readers a fabulous 2017!
Eli and Jennifer