How to Create a Good Customer Experience

Customer centricity is just good business – full stop. By placing the consumer at the heart of your decision-making process, and by prioritizing customer satisfaction over other, traditionally “more serious” metrics like sales and conversion rates, you create a direct line to your company’s most valuable asset, and ensure loyalty and CLV longevity.

But how do you deliver the kind of service people want? How do you cultivate an atmosphere that listens to, empowers and assures your customers? In other words: how do you create a winning customer experience?

Let’s approach the question from a variety of perspectives. In this article, we’ll hear from a Fortune 500 CEO, a tech maverick disrupting the real estate industry, a couple of consumer surveys, and an author specializing in modern customer service.

“Recognition and Empowerment”

People like to harp on the DMV for its noted lack of customer service. It’s a common trope in TV shows and a running joke in stand-up comedy sets. What makes the DMV (or, at the very least, the public perception of the DMV) such a frustrating experience? It all has to do with feeling unseen and disenfranchised. When customers feel like their questions are falling on deaf ears, or when they feel shut out of informational resources that help them understand your service or product, they get justifiably fed up.

That’s why, according to Ritz-Carlton president Herve Humler, the two basic tenets of excellent customer service are “recognition and empowerment.” Make customers feel heard and in control.

“Transparency, Credibility, and Accountability”

Trust is a large part of any relationship – including the customer relationship. Customers need to know that you are being upfront and honest. They also need to know that you are properly accredited to offer the advice you’re giving, and that the buck stops with you if something should go wrong.

Regan McGee, founder and CEO of Nobul, a real estate digital marketplace, understands this. That’s why he’s “helping bring more transparency, credibility, and accountability to the single biggest transaction of people’s lives.” Speaking to Medium, McGee says that “We’re solving a different problem compared to others in the industry… The problem that everyone else is solving is getting agents deal flow. The problem we are solving is getting consumers the best possible experience at the best possible price. Simply put, our goal is to serve the consumer, not real estate agents.”

“Personalized Service”

Let’s pivot for a moment toward the wide world of consumer behavior statistics. There’s no shortage of surveys – formal and informal – that claim to offer a window into the hearts and minds of the common consumer. Taken individually, however, they often offer conflicting or muddled insights.

Here, let’s extract a common theme that you see in several market research and customer expectations reports: customers crave personalization. According to McKinsey (an authoritative voice in data-driven business insights), 80% of survey respondents say they want personalization from retailers. They call personalization a “hygiene factor,” stating that “customers take it for granted, but if a retailer gets it wrong, customers may depart for a competitor.”

The Gladly Consumer Expectations Report supports this hypothesis: according to their survey, “79% (of respondents) say a personalized experience is more important than personalized marketing.”

“Hugging Your Haters”

A fantastic customer experience isn’t just measured in good feelings. It’s also about how you manage frustrations, embrace criticism and give voice to your most disapproving customers.  

In his book Hug Your Haters, bestselling author and entrepreneur Jay Baer points out that “The most dangerous customers aren’t your haters; they are the “meh” in the middle, the dissatisfied customers who don’t take the time to complain.” To that end, argues Baer, it’s best practice to cultivate an atmosphere of honesty with customers – it’s better to encourage them to vent their frustrations than simply abandon ship.

If you’re aiming to improve customer experience at your organization, take a cue from the experts above. Be empowering and transparent. Personalize your service to speak with customers individually. And embrace the broad spectrum of feedback you receive from customers – not just the rosy stuff.

T Editing