This week we feature an article by Jessica Wise who shares a story to illustrate how you can develop a lifelong relationship with your customers by creating a customer experience they will never forget. It was the Thursday before Memorial Day 2019. In less than 36 hours, my parents were headed to Texas for a […]
This week we feature an article by Jessica Wise who shares a story to illustrate how you can develop a lifelong relationship with your customers by creating a customer experience they will never forget.
It was the Thursday before Memorial Day 2019. In less than 36 hours, my parents were headed to Texas for a two-week vacation.
Their unruly, horse-sized Bernadoodle was ready to ship out on a two-week trip of his own. He was all set to head off to doggie boot camp … or so we thought.
This is the story of how one brand shocked and awed my entire family.
It also doubles as a guide that will illustrate how you can forge a lifelong relationship with your customers by creating a customer experience (CX) they’ll never forget.
Step 1: A Problem Needs Solving
The chance to shock and awe your customers will arise when they present you with a problem that needs solving.
According to research conducted by Glance, 70% of unhappy customers whose problems are resolved are willing to shop with a business again.
So, have no doubt. Your customer’s dilemma is your opportunity to be a CX superhero.
My mom arrived at Tall Tails Training & Boarding for drop-off that Thursday afternoon, only to realize that she had failed to get their Bernadoodle his Bordetella vaccination (a requirement for boarding).
It’s a shot that takes 3-5 days to take effect. They were leaving in two days.
These were the only arrangements they had made for their dog to be cared for. Now what?
Step 2: Give Your Staff the Power to be Effective and Flexible
In the customer service industry, it pays off to expect the unexpected.
Because one thing is certain: There will be times when your company’s established policies don’t fit the situation.
There will also be times when a customer presents you with a problem that you’ve never dealt with before.
That’s why you have to encourage your staff to think on their feet and give them the power to make important calls.
70% of employees ranked being empowered to take action at work when a problem or opportunity arises as an important element of their engagement. (SHRM)
More importantly, companies with engaged employees see 233% greater customer loyalty and a 26% greater annual increase in revenue. (Aberdeen)
Engaged employees to the rescue.
Lucky for our family, the staff at Tall Tails was engaged and also given the power to be effective and flexible.
You see, my mom is a seasoned planner and notorious organizer. Upon realizing her irreversible mistake, she was instantly frazzled and on the fast track to panic-town.
But THEN, the boarding intake specialist surprised my mom with a proposition: “Why don’t you call your vet, and see how soon they can get your dog in for his Bordetella shot?”
If she could start by making that call, their staff would figure out a way to get our family’s dog to their facility after an appropriate amount of time had passed for the vaccine to take effect.
Baffled, my mom began to dial.
They were going to figure it out? Even though it was our error? Even though we hadn’t followed their pre-boarding instructions?
She couldn’t believe it.
Step 3: Shock – Offer a Solution That Goes Beyond What They’d Expect
Your customers’ loyalty is out there and ripe for the taking. You just have to put in some extra effort.
84% of customers report that their expectations have not been exceeded in their last interaction with customer service. (Harvard Business Review)
Yet, 67% of consumers report that their standards for good experiences are higher than ever. (Salesforce)
So, what’s stopping your organization from going the extra mile? Your customers are just waiting for you to blow them away.
Exceeding expectations by miles.
By a stroke of luck, the vet could squeeze my Mom’s Bernadoodle in that very day for his Bordetella shot.
After thanking the vet tech, my mom hung up the phone and relayed the good news to the boarding staff.
But, there was still a problem, and her face quickly turned back to worry…
The vaccine would take at least 3 days to take effect. How would the dog get to the facility while my parents were eating BBQ and watching cattle drives over 1,600 miles away?
What my mom didn’t realize is that, while she was on the phone with the vet, the Tall Tails staff had been brainstorming an epic plan.
This was their solution:
Staff members concluded that by Memorial Day Monday, it would be safe for the dog to return. If my mom could find a friend or family member to care for the dog until then, someone from Tall Tails would be more than happy to drive out and pick up my parents’ pooch. That staff member would then drive him back to the facility for check-in and get him settled for his two-week stay.
My Mom’s jaw hit the floor. They were “more than happy” to do all that …on a holiday?
Step 4: Awe – Keep Your Promise and Personalize It
Believe it or not, offering solutions that go beyond your customers’ expectations is the easy part.
Following through on the promises you’ve made them is where the real work comes in. But, it’s also how you gain their loyalty.
Trust is an essential element in building your brand’s reputation and retaining your customers’ business.
After building a relationship, customer spend grows alongside trust. Eventually, loyal customers spend 67% more than new ones. (CMO) When it comes to the customer experience, the level of effort you put into acting on your promises matters even more.
In fact, 1 in 3 customers say they will pay more to receive a higher level of service. (Genesys) So, adding a little extra personalized sparkle to your delivery will go a long way.
According to a Researchscape International study, the top benefits of personalization include, improved customer experience (55%), improved brand perception (39%), and increased lead generation and customer acquisition (46%).
Trust me. Personalization is how you will truly awe them.
A happy and personalized ending.
I’m sure you can assume what happened next. My mom called me and asked if I would mind staying at their house for the long weekend to tend to the family dog until he could be picked up. Of course, I agreed.
But, Tall Tails wasn’t done surprising us.
As promised, a member of their staff arrived right on time on Memorial Day, and he immediately got to work awe-ing me with his genuine care for the family fluffball.
One of the first things he asked was if I would mind accompanying him and the dog out to the idling vehicle in the driveway.
Initially, I looked at him perplexed. Then, he explained, “I want to make sure the dog won’t be frightened by getting into a strange car.” The presence of someone the dog was familiar with would help make the transition easier.
I was immediately taken back by the level of care he put into his work and his honest concern for our family’s pet.
As the Tall Tails staffer departed, he even promised to give our pooch special dog treats for his birthday that was coming up in the next few days.
The Bottom Line
That’s what your customers should be saying when they walk away from an interaction with your brand.
They should be shocked at the solution you’ve offered them, and in awe of how you delivered that solution.
That’s how Tall Tails won a customer for life. And that’s how you will, too
Jessica Wise is a Customer Experience Blogger and the Creative Marketing Manager for LiveHelpNow, a live chat software company. You can also follow her updates on LinkedIn.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: National Customer Service Week Isn’t Just About Customers
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