Following up on yesterday’s post, “Making Promises, Keeping Promises: Building Brand and Loyalty through Customer Experience,” organizations must transform by aligning toward customer experiences to gain a competitive edge, as explained in “Customer Experience: Is it the Chicken or Egg?” by Christine Crandell.
During last month’s Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, brand strategists, innovation experts and other thought-leaders shared their insights and best practices for driving a customer-centric culture. Here are some highlights to help you design and deliver exceptional customer experiences:
“People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, American author and poet
Are you building a true experience management core competency within your organization? According to Lou Carbone, Founder & Chief Experience Officer, Experience Engineering Inc., and author of Clued In: How to Keep Customers Coming Back Again and Again, there is “a whole lot of discussion . . . without a lot of deep understanding.”
Embracing experience management is a cultural adoption – it’s not about improving legacy business frameworks, tools or models. Many organizations are focused on process improvement instead of on creating true experience management systems or fully leveraging the opportunity to transform the value they create for customers, employees and other stakeholders.
According to Lou, to create a true experience management core competency within your organization, you must focus on these five absolutes of experience management:
- Move from “make and sell” to “sense and respond:” Change your organization-driven perspective to an experience-driven perspctive (customer-oriented). Sense what customers don’t even know and build on those responses.
- Think customer back (emotional/rational bond): Focus on the customer perspective first. Be a “firm of endearment,” a company that if it went away tomorrow, customers would mourn the loss. Examples include Apple, Starbucks, Amazon, Costco, and Google.
- Understand and leverage role of the unconscious mind: Focus on “how” customers think instead of on “what” customers think. Understand and act upon the premise that “the tangible attributes of a product or service have far less influence on consumer preference than the sub-conscious sensory and emotional elements derived from the total experience.” – Dr. Gerald Zaltman, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School, Laboratory of the Consumer Mind
- Become clue conscious: Clue in to how people feel and think as they have the experience, which also includes what they see, hear, smell and taste.
- Develop rigorous systems to develop and manage clues: Design your systems around how functional (functionality of good or service), mechanic (sights, smells, textures, sounds) and humanic (choice of words, tone of voice, body language) clues are coming together to create the desired effect. Focus on the moments that matter within customers’ perception, interaction and recollection of experiences.
Managing your customers’ experiences and emotions is what helps you create the emotional connection you need to keep customers coming back again and again.