Cultivate your customer experience

Last month, my video blog on customer loyalty started some buzz, so I’m following up with some questions to you.

But first, the most critically important point is that the customer experience drives customer loyalty. And that experience consists primarily of human interaction – how you and your employees communicate with the customer. (See Pine and Gilmore’s The Experience Economy for some valuable insights.)

Here’s the thing — many organizations focus instead on the physical and technological aspects of their customer experience. For example, what does the retail décor look like? How is the product packaged? What are the words on the box? Or, what does the website look like, and is it easy-to-use? Are the colors in brand?

These elements matter, but in actuality, interactions with you and your employees are the single largest determinant of customer experience. The way your employees communicate and interact with your customers drives loyalty, so ask yourself this: How well do you and your people communicate? It seems obvious, but so does loyalty.

To illustrate (using my example from the video blog), I return to my favorite restaurants because they know my name when I walk in, they take their best guess at my order, sometimes the owner says hello to make me feel welcome, and the experience is personalized.

Our marketing director says the same thing of her experience with Southwest Airlines. She flies frequently with them because they deliver a consistent experience. Familiar flight attendants welcome her with a recognizing smile. Last minute emergency or change of plans? She knows a Southwest representative will kindly work with her to make the change without gouging.

So now I’m asking you, how well do you and your people communicate to your customers? Whether you’re selling a retail product or a professional service, please share what you’re doing to enhance your customer experience to drive loyalty, and post ideas for what you could do going forward.

Video Blog: What is customer loyalty?

What does the commonly used buzzword customer loyalty mean to you? Think about a company or organization to which you are a frequent and loyal customer. What makes you return? What makes you talk about it to other people? Please answer in the comments! In this week’s video blog, I bring … Continue reading