May 3, 2019
When we think of taking care of the customer, we usually think of customer service. Customer service is a major component of the overall customer experience, but there is indeed so much more. Customer service focuses on the delivery of your product or service, whereas the customer experience is meant to deliver your message.
The customer experience is the totality of every interaction a customer has with your brand. It begins long before they walk into your place of business or complete a transaction. There is a lot of research available on what the key components are of the customer experience, but for us little guys, it's easier to think about it in terms of our senses. Everything we see, taste, hear, touch and smell in relation to a company becomes a part of how the business is perceived and ingrained into our minds...and therefore helps to define the brand.
See - the visual elements of your business...your store or office, decor, the cleanliness (including the restrooms), website, logo, business cards, social media, your employees, your product or service, marketing materials, facial expressions (smiles go a LONG way), packaging, internet (having accurate and up to date information online), email...& yes, even text messages.
Taste - not only edibles you serve if you are in the food service industry, but also any treats you offer in your place of business (vending machines, coffee, tea, drinks, snacks, etc)...or lack thereof...and even gifts you send. There is a reason why the Double Tree hotel chain has become synonymous with those delicious chocolate chip cookies!
Hear - your reputation, word of mouth, the music playing in your store, how customers are greeted (& if they are greeted), conversations employees have on the sales floor, how the phone is answered (& if it is answered), voicemail messages, TV and radio ads.
Touch - the quality of your product or service, hand shakes, the quality of your marketing materials.
Smell - the scent of your store (again, including the restrooms), you & your employees, your product & packaging
This list is of course not all encompassing, but it does give you an idea of all of the things that help to create the overall customer experience and will ultimately shape your brand and determine how the customer perceives your business.
Warren Buffet once said "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." That says it all...