One of the most underrated factors for success in customer service is memory. Your customers need to not only enjoy their experience, but remember it; otherwise, you’ll miss out on the important benefits that come along with memorability:
- Stronger brand sticking power. When you remember an experience, you’re more likely to commit that brand to memory, giving you cause to buy from that brand again. Otherwise, the brand may blend into a hundred other similar businesses you’ve been to before. For example, you may have good food and decent service at a diner in a new city, but if there’s nothing memorable about the experience, you probably won’t be able to recall the name of that diner.
- Propensity to share. Memorable experiences are also more likely to be shared. When an experience sticks in your mind, good or bad, it’s more likely to come up in conversation with others.
- Positive, detailed reviews. If you have a strongly positive and memorable experience, you’ll be more likely to recall and report important details, making your reviews more thorough, more accurate, and more appealing to others. Since 90 percent of customers now read reviews before visiting a business, this is more important than ever.
Factors for an Unforgettable Customer Experience
So what is it that makes a customer experience memorable in the first place? You’ll need to pay attention to these necessary factors to pull it off:
1. Novelty. How often do you “forget” your morning commute to work or the routine function of your job that you’ve done a thousand times before? Probably fairly often. This is because, to at least some degree, novelty is linked to memory. We’re far more likely to remember something that is unique and unfamiliar to us, than something we’re already familiar with. For example, there are hundreds of things to do in Phuket, including restaurants and tours of cultural landmarks, but someone staying there for a week or longer is only going to remember the experiences that stand out from the others. If you’re like every other tour company, or every other restaurant, you won’t be memorable.
2. Recognition. Customers also like to be recognized, and in more ways than one. For this, you need a trained staff that’s willing to pay close attention to your customers and jump in when necessary to make their experience better. Sometimes, simple gestures are all it takes to make a customer feel recognized in your business; for example, our identity is tied to our name, so simply learning and using someone’s name can make them feel like they’re a bigger part of your establishment.
3. Personalization. You also want to do what you can to personalize the service. If a customer feels they’re getting the exact same experience as everyone else, they’ll feel like they’re on an assembly line, indistinguishable from the next person to walk through the door. For example, almost everyone who visits Chicago ends up at the SkyDeck of Willis Tower. But most people don’t go back for a return visit, because the experience is largely the same, no matter who you are or when you go (barring any cloudy days). Having personal conversations with your customers is one of the easiest ways to guarantee memorability, so keep your staff chatty and attentive.
4. Appreciation. Finally, customers want to feel like their business is appreciated. A small (and sincere) thank-you at the end of each transaction might be the boost of appreciation they need to remember your brand (and customer service reps). You could also include a small, surprise gift along with each of your customer orders (playing off the “novelty” factor as well), or host a full-fledged customer appreciation day sale. As long as you make your customers feel valuable, they’ll be more likely to remember you.
Reshaping a Customer Experience
The key here is to incorporate these factors into your existing customer experience, which can be difficult. Some business models (i.e., those that naturally include some degree of novelty and personalization) will find them easier to adopt than others. Start at the ground level, reshaping elements of your core business plan as necessary, and expand outward, retraining your staff and updating your procedures to make sure all four factors are accounted for.