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Seven customer experience actions to give your business a competitive edge

Picture of Mikey Kileen of Dialogue

Mikey Killeen

Head of Events & Social Media at Dialogue Marketing

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“Customer experience is today’s business benchmark,” according to Forbes Magazine. Providing good customer experience has become vital to business growth. Today’s customers have lots of choice but little patience or loyalty. When there is little to choose between one company and another, it’s experience given that makes all the difference to a customer. Mikey Killeen of Dialogue outlines seven customer experience actions that will give your business that competitive edge:

1. Get staff members behind your new customer-centric culture

Gold standard customer experience starts with your employees. Staff need to be empowered and rewarded to show genuine empathy and go that extra mile for customers at every customer interaction. Doing the right thing and having strong customer values will translate into good business.

Lush Cosmetics single minded focus on customer experience
Lush’s customers place a great degree of trust in the organisation. This trust is based on the company’s employees making huge efforts to engage shoppers individually, discussing their needs and recommending the best products accordingly. This type of consultative approach also demonstrates a strong sense of personalisation – undoubtedly one of Lush’s greatest strengths. Lush invests in customer experience rather than advertising.

2. Walk in your customer’s shoes

Top Irish customer experience champions all have one thing in common: they are 100% customer centric. They invite customers to board meetings, spend time with customers on a regular basis and many have senior teams dedicated to dealing with customer complaints directly.

Peter Mark puts customer satisfaction first
In 1961 Peter and Mark Keaveney opened the first Peter Mark hair salon with a core philosophy to “make customers happy by providing the highest possible standard of hairdressing”. Fifty-five years on, this philosophy is still very much at the heart of a business. For Peter Mark, the hairdressing customer experience is unique to each customer. Having customers spend an average of 25 minutes for a blow dry is seen as a huge advantage in getting to know a customer and understand their needs. All staff, from the CEO to the salon staff spends a lot of their time talking to, listening to and observing customers.

3. Capture and listen to customer feedback, your most valuable data

Maximise valuable insight from all channels, particularly social media, by capturing and analysing qualitative feedback such as comments. Integrate this with other data to give you a fully rounded view of your customers. You must understand your customers in order to deliver a truly personalised and empathetic experience.

4. Stay on top of your social media activity

Customers expect brands to provide an efficient and engaging social media experience and are quick to share both positive and negative outcomes. Your customers don’t expect to wait long for a response. Brands must closely watch these channels, responding quickly and managing resolution heroically.

Xbox zeros in on Twitter engagement
Xbox hold the Guinness World Record for “Most Responsive Brand on Twitter”. The Xbox Twitter team, also known as the “Elite Tweet Fleet” has 895,000 followers as of October 2016.
The team’s hours are 6am – 12am PT Monday to Sunday, which is more than reasonable for a tech support team. They also advertise their availability very clearly on their Twitter bio, which works to manage their customers’ expectations.

5. Lock in your best customers without breaking the bank

Focusing your attention on acquiring new customers is time consuming and can take up a large amount of your budget; it is well known that it can cost up to 7x more to get a new customer over keeping an existing one. Move your focus to keeping the customers you already have by giving them gold-standard experiences.

Late Night Beauty Salon excelling in the simple gestures
This customer review for the ‘Late Night Beauty Salon’ shows that remarkable customer experience doesn’t have to cost a business a fortune in research and development.

“I recently moved to a new area and went in to check out the local beauty salon. I felt right at home from the get-go after a warm greeting and a friendly smile. When all was finished the beautician handed me a pink envelope and told me that she was looking forward to seeing me again. To my surprise, it was a personalised, hand-written card with three €10 off vouchers for my mates and a KitKat! I’ve told all my friends about the Late Night Beauty Salon and now have a new friend in my local beautician.” Late Night Beauty Salon customer

6. Do the ‘small things’ brilliantly and consistently

Customers can have multiple interactions through multiple channels with a company. Attention to detail within each micro experience makes the difference in delivering CX excellence. It’s the tiny things that add up to a great experience when you put them all together.

7. Make it easy for customers to sell on your behalf

Provide them with ‘remark-able’ experiences or surprise and delight them in a way that they can easily talk about or share with their friends, family and colleagues. These become amplification mechanics that provide the unexpected, ‘going that extra mile’ impact which customers are unlikely to experience very often.

Volvo gets its customers talking

Volvo wanted to deliver a remarkable welcome experience for their new customers. One that they would talk about. Volvo knows the majority of its customers are busy parents whose spare time is very limited. So they created the Volvo Play Car – a large cardboard car that children can colour and play with while keeping them busy and happy for hours at a time. Each new customer was given a Volvo Play Car pack by their dealer and conversation about the Volvo Play Car has been sparked at play dates with friends and with neighbours over the garden fence. Customers were also given a set of cardboard key ‘amplifiers’ to pass on to neighbours, friends and family. The key gives the recipient a test drive in their local Volvo dealership and a chance to win their own Volvo Play Car.

The above actions and examples have one thing in common; they are all driven by the customer.
This customer-driven approach to business is evident throughout all of Ireland’s top performing customer experience brands and can be replicated with the right framework and knowledge.

 

 

 

 

Mikey Killeen is Head of Events and Social Media at Dialogue Marketing and The CX Academy.
He helped create and deliver Ireland’s first Customer Experience Masterclass and is managing the CX Academy’s future classes.
Mikey is passionate about Customer Experience and sees it having a strong influence in marketing over the coming years.