Think back to a memorable experience you had with a business. What is it about that unique experience that stands out? Most likely it was not simply what you purchased, but the interaction you had and how it made you feel. Truly memorable experiences depend on the sentiments a customer walks away feeling. Those feelings are vital, because how a customer feels about a business ultimately determines the continued relationship; it either bolsters or undermines your credibility, which has a direct impact on your bottom line. These thoughts are even more powerful when customers share them out loud, interactively or digitally to others.
These meaningful, memorable and measurable experiences are the root of how we create customer advocates. But some of the best customer experiences aren’t exactly self-sustainable. When providing exceptional care to customers, companies must foster an environment capable of measuring and leveraging the experiences in order to create a truly engaged, enriched brand advocate. In your own organization, strive for a process that works to shape the attitude of your customers and influence their buying behavior.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with 1to1 Media about trends that will impact the customer experience field throughout 2015. I chose to highlight four exceptional customer care tips that I believe will never go out of style. Here’s a look at the high points:
Many companies utilize Net Promoter Score (NPS) or something similar, to evaluate customer satisfaction. They often believe the critical question, “Will you refer us?,” is a key indicator for predicting future business results, though it can’t paint a perfect understanding of satisfaction on its own. To obtain a more robust picture of customer loyalty and advocacy, invite customers to respond to open-ended questions that enable earnest responses and feelings and then analyze those both quantitatively and quantitatively. Remember, what people say and what they do can be two very different things, and what you need to know is how customers really feel about your company.
Renewing focus on internal employees
From the back room to the customer-facing sales associate, every employee at your company impacts customer experience through their own attitudes and behaviors. Focusing on employee engagement and how they feel about working for your company, is essential to a thriving culture that fosters innovative new ways to not only satisfy, but delight, customers. Thus, a company cannot create exceptional experiences without employees who care enough to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
The battle for empathetic employees
Hiring naturally empathic employees is becoming more competitive in the marketplace. Empathetic employees play a vital role in providing excellent customer care. It’s important to have team members who can naturally relate to customers and create relationships that motivate them to return. But, just when you think you’ve developed the magic hiring formula, you find out one of two things: Either there are not enough candidates to hire or not all of your hiring practices are perfect. There will always be associates who need help developing their empathy skills. Companies must develop the right training, support and motivation to create empathetic employees to fill the skills gap in the marketplace.
Getting Advocates to Advocate
It’s not enough for a customer to say they will talk positively about your company on a survey. To be an advocate, they have to actually do it. Engage customers with meaningful, memorable experiences they will remember for days, weeks, months and years. These positive memories make a customer feel good about doing business with you are the building blocks to:
- A more highly engaged customer base that buys more and stays longer
- Guarantying customers have something to talk about when they have the opportunity to advocate for your company, product or service
- Ultimately creating new customers and bottom-line ROI
Over time, these memorable moments bridge the gap between satisfied and advocating customers. For more information, read the 1to1 Media article I authored, “4 Exceptional Customer Care Tips That Never Go out of Style.”