From good to great CX: It’s the little things that count

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How do you move your customers from merely satisfied to delighted? How does a brand create experiences that are memorable? And how do you anticipate what your customers want tomorrow?

To unearth the answers to these questions and more, a diverse group of customer experience leaders, authors, and experts across a range of industries weighed in. They include influential experts like Jay Baer and Greg Chapman, customer experience advisor Jon Picoult, and Chief Creative Officer Steve Bayliss, among others.

These experts have all spent time directly observing, listening to, and measuring the impact of interactions between brands and customers, either within their own organizations or those that they are individual customers of.  I encourage you to listen to the full podcast to fully appreciate the wisdom of all of the experts and business leaders that we interviewed, but here are some of the key takeaways for taking your CX from good to great.

Great CX: Think small for a big impact

Jay Baer, founder of Convince and Convert, recognizes that the pressure brands are under to deliver a “wow” customer experience can be daunting. As a result, he encourages business leaders to focus on making deliberate decisions to impact smaller, more focused areas.

“The secret is not to think big with regards to customer experience, but rather to think small and to come up with very specific choices, decisions, circumstances that you’re going to do differently in your business and apply those. And then you’ll start to see better CX outcomes on the backend.

My favorite stories about customer experience as a win in a business are [from] organizations that embrace some or all of the customer experience success equation in an industry that you don’t normally associate with that kind of performance.”

CX is always dictated by the customer’s perception, and that perception is guided by their expectations, Baer says.

Listen to the truth…even if it hurts

Steve Bayliss, chief creative officer for Sky Network Television in New Zealand, stresses the importance of listening to customers– even when it isn’t exactly what you want to hear.

“The first thing I did at Sky was go and employ the best science and data professional I could find. Give that person the freedom to be the truth even when it hurts.

An insights professional who only tells you what they think you want to know is the worst enemy of any organization.

An insights professional who doesn’t mind hurting your soul and giving you news you hate to hear is the most valuable person you could have.

One of the most important changes we’re making on our journey…is becoming brilliant at listening to our customers.”

One of the most underutilized CX tools is the small innovations that tell your customers you’re thinking about them because you care and want to better serve them, Bayliss says.

Stage a performance

Jon Picoult, rounder and principal at Watermark Consulting, a customer experience advisory firm, believes that the most impactful experiences are those that elicit emotions. He cites a simple but quintessential example from Nordstrom, which is known for their customer-first brand values.  After making a purchase in a store, the sales associate will walk around to meet you, hand you your bag, and thank you for shopping at Nordstrom. This subtle gesture infuses a sense of intimacy and personalization into the customer experience.

Picoult recommends that brands think about customer experience as if they are staging a performance.

“Great customer experiences are really about eliciting emotion. Think about a movie that you remember or show performance that you remember – the reason you remember it is because there was emotional resonance to it.”

This is about making your audience feel good…and special and that emotional resonance of the experience is critical. The famed behavioral psychologist Daniel Kahneman once said that the emotional tail wags the rational dog. And what he was referring to was the fact that just in general, in life, but also with to the customer experience, the emotions that people experience really exert a disproportionate influence on the impressions that they take away from the experience.”

Companies that do it well recognize they’re not just in the business of creating great customer experiences. They’re in the business of creating great customer memories, Picoult says.

Join me, won’t you?

You can listen to the full podcast of Episode #2, “How to Move Your Customer Experience From Good To Great” or click below.

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Paula Hansen

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