By Jamie Domenici
In today’s digitally driven marketplace, all it takes is a swipe or a click for a potential customer to find a better price, a wider selection, or a more convenient location. So how do you make your growing business stand out from the crowd and turn fickle shoppers into loyal customers?
For most forward-thinking companies, the answer has become customer experience.
According to a recent Gartner study, 89% of companies now expect to compete mostly on the basis of experience, compared to 36% just four years prior. This dramatic shift sends a clear message to business leaders: It’s no longer enough to make customer experience a priority for your business—it has to be your absolute primary focus if you want to remain competitive.
My own customer experience epiphany occurred a few years ago when I was shopping for my wedding dress. After attending a bridal show, I received an email from one of the participating boutiques, and that set off on an experience so amazing I still rave about it today.
What’s most remarkable is that there was nothing complicated about the strategy that business followed. Your company can create a customer experience that’s just as unforgettable if you build it on these three simple rules:
Know your customers
When I showed up for my first appointment with the boutique, the people there made everything all about me from the moment I stepped in the door. They greeted me by name. They knew all about my family and my wedding party. They even knew my size and preferences, and had dresses picked out and ready to try on. It felt like I was being treated as a person, rather than a transaction.
The boutique was able to provide such personalized service because it was using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that gave associates all of the information they needed—from my wedding date to my favorite color. It didn’t matter that different pieces of information came from sales, service, or marketing, because all three systems were connected and shared all the information in one place.
The high point of their service came at the low point of my wedding day when I accidentally stepped on my gown and tore a hole in it. I called the boutique in a near panic, not really expecting much more than their sympathy. Instead, the staff quickly pulled up my record on their CRM and got the details of my dress style and my wedding location. Within 30 minutes there was a local seamstress at my door with the matching thread for my dress in hand. Talk about a seamless experience!
RELATED: How Creating Value for Your Customers Can Give Your Business a Competitive Edge
Watch every touchpoint
My wedding-day rescue was incredible, but customer experience isn’t about a single interaction. It’s about all of them taken together throughout the life cycle of a customer relationship. It includes everything from advertisements and promotions to sales calls, product usage, and customer support.
The reason my bridal boutique experience is so memorable is because it focused on my needs at every touchpoint. To make your business equally unforgettable, you need to create the same kind of strong, memorable brand that flows consistently through everything you do.