Article -> Creating a Delightful Customer Experience
Date Added: November 2004
Growing revenues during an ever-increasing competitive market continues to be a challenge for most organizations. Identifying the needs of customers is vital, and once needs have been identified, organizations must proactively manage customers to create a continual delightful experience.
A delightful customer experience delivers the brand promise at every touch-point. Meeting customers' needs is no longer enough. Organizations must understand customers' needs, proactively exceed their needs, and create an experience that delights them to a point where they remain a customer (and you're able to grow their business).
Organizations should focus on their most profitable customers - not necessarily their largest customers - when creating delightful experiences. Customers that have delightful experiences strengthen organization/customer partnerships, while providing cross-sell and up-sell opportunities to expand products and services.
Creating a delightful customer experience consists of five main steps.
Determine the target customer: Which customers are most profitable? Which customers create the most long-term value? Which customers' needs are best understood? While internal analysis is good, organizations should work with an unbiased, external consultant to conduct a customer needs analysis to proactively receive specific answers to these questions.
Do what's right for the customer: By focusing on customers' needs, you begin to build a stronger organization/customer partnership. If you find that you're continually doing what's right for you - not the customer - it's possible you're not working with the right customers. Your business must be profitable; however, by doing what's right for the customer, you can generate a stronger, more profitable, long-term partnership.
Share the load to reduce the risk: Creating a delightful customer experience takes time and resources (people and infrastructure). To ensure you are focused on your core competencies, share the load with external groups to assist you. This may include market research, customer databases, unbiased consulting, etc. By outsourcing some of these areas, you reduce your own risks and expenses in adding resources, and maximize the speed and ROI that you'll receive from external groups focused on helping you create a delightful customer experience.
Provide exceptional service: Why should customers continue to do business with you? How are you unique or different? Most products are commoditized, so service makes a difference - and your service should be exceptional (not simply good). Look to delight your customers every time your organization touches them, and measure to determine if customers are completely satisfied.
Improve (continuously): Don't idly sit by if/when you've been able to delight customers because this is when a competitor will jump at the chance to take customers away from you. Continuously improve your processes and people because whatever delights a customer today, will not delight them tomorrow.
Unique Business Solutions recently worked with an organization that is a leader in its market segment. Unfortunately, the organization recently lost its 4th largest customer - a customer that had partnered with the organization for more than 30 years. The organization learned the hard way that it was no longer delighting customers, so we worked with them to design a new process focused on creating a delightful customer experience. The results... the organization had a record earnings year.
Following the five steps above can help your organization on the path to creating a delightful customer experience and growing revenues.