February 05, 2013 By Daniel L. Newman
Did you know the fastest way to be forgotten by your customers is to provide them with a completely average customer experience?
Yep, not a bad one, because for that you will be memorable, just not the way you hope.
However, I have long thought danger lies in mediocrity because no one remembers mediocre. But this can be overcome, and it starts by getting back to basics and realizing the sale doesn’t end when you get the deal.
The point in which you win the deal is when it just begins. If you want to be remembered for being better than the rest, start by delivering better customer experiences.
Here are five ways you can create a better customer experience.
1. Listen First: We all want our customers to know we are the authority on all things technology. Our companies have all the certifications and all of the experiences with others customers just like the one you are in front of right now. However, we live in a world of mass customization, and whether we are talking about your Whopper or your car, you want it your way. Well, so do your customers. If you don’t listen to them, you can only deliver it your way, which won’t necessarily be what they want.
2. Set Expectations Early and Often: I believe the majority of life’s disappointments are founded in improper expectations. Same goes for the integration business. With regards to technology, things don’t always work exactly the way you plan and systems can be flaky for dozens of different reasons. We know this, and I think deep down most of our customers know things will never be smooth sailing. Yet we plow through the sales process promising rainbows and puppy tales. Then we try and tell customers when we run into the same set of problems, “This the first time.” Kind of like what you told your parents the first time they caught you doing ... Anyhow set better expectations and you will probably deliver better results.
3. Be Thorough: Time is money, so we often try to move too quickly through the diligence stage. Quick site survey, nothing out of the ordinary and then, BAM, you get caught off guard to find the ceiling is 30 feet above the grid or you have to run plenum cable. These examples are just a couple of many that can throw a project off course. If you have ever heard the phrase, “Pay now or pay later,” this is exactly what was meant. Any time you cut corners in the early phase, it usually ends up costing you your dividends on the back end. Being thorough shows the customer not only that deliver what you say, but that you care enough to invest in the long term relationship.
4. Ask Questions: Don’t wait until the end of the project to find out what the customer is thinking or how they are doing. If the customer doesn’t approach you on regular interaction throughout the project, take the lead and make the request yourself. If throughout the project and the relationship you take the time to make sure that the customer is satisfied and in the know, you will be far more likely to be creating memorable customer experiences.
5. Relentless Commitment to Satisfaction: Repeat after me, “Not all projects will go perfectly.” Okay, now that you have acknowledged the complexity of our business, take the next step and remember you can set yourself apart by embracing those complexities. If you have ever heard the expression, “Relationships are built in the foxhole,” then you will know what I mean. But the relentless commitment is how you face problems and challenges in your customer relationship and turn them into customer experience gold.
As the service economy continues to be more and more impacted by the human interactions rather than the products themselves, businesses that set apart their customer experience delivery will win the sprint, the race and the marathon. Focusing on these simple tips is a way to make every interaction between your company and your customers just a little bit better than those with your competition.