In many organizations, part of new employee training stresses the need for empathy – for every customer, every time. But customer experience calls for much more than empathy, encompassing every interaction the customer has with your brand, end-to-end.
We want customers to not only to keep coming back, but to tell their friends, family, and anyone else how fantastic we are so they engage with the brand and become loyal customers, too. But how do we create a remarkable customer experience that in turn creates loyal customers?
1. Listen Well, Listen Often
The term “listen” isn’t just about shutting your mouth and letting someone else tell you what he or she thinks and how they feel (although that’s important). Today, it’s also about tuning in to social media, paying attention to 1:1 interactions with your frontline employees, and using big data and analytics to your advantage, among others. Listening has to be constant, and the information you glean should be used to strengthen each subsequent customer experience a customer has with your brand.
2. Be Unique
Okay, so building a brand that stands out from the crowd is not a new idea. But consider all the noise your current and future customers see and hear every day – if you can’t figure out a way to rise above the onslaught of photos, videos, emails, social media posts, etc., they see every day no one will have the opportunity to experience your brand at all. How do you figure out what will make you unique? See number one, “Listen,” above. Get to know who you’re trying to reach, and you can start building a smart plan to engage them effectively.
3. Be Passionate About Your Brand
It’s not enough to believe in what you offer – you and everyone in your firm needs to be passionate throughout each and every interaction, before, during and after direct contact. An article in Harvard Business Review explains clearly that a positive customer experience happens when customers’ needs are anticipated, met, and followed up on, over and over again, by employees who strongly believe in keeping their brand’s promises.
4. Aim for The Heart
Engaging your customer’s emotional needs, wants, and desires, helps them see an intangible value attached to your brand. For instance, Disneyworld: it’s not just a fun family vacation or a chance to meet Mickey Mouse; it’s a chance to indulge in the experience of joy and magic Disney provides. Coca-Cola has another good emotional connection with their “Have a coke and a smile,” tagline — Coke drinkers are drawn to the happiness that comes with their tasty beverage.
It’s true that the customer experience is about more than empathy, but your brand – and all the employees who work within it – should be able to say to the customer “I understand,” genuinely. Empathy offers a chance to make a very human connection with the customer, and they feel better just for having interacted with a representative. Empathy makes a customer feel like she matters.
There you have it – five ways to create a remarkable customer experience that in turn creates loyal customers. This list is by no means complete – what would you add? Please share your thoughts in the comments.