Take a cue from other businesses that have excellent customer service and learn to incorporate those strategies into your business.
I've been thinking a lot about our customer experience lately as we'll soon be making some sweeping changes to the way we do business at my online marketing company VerticalResponse. When I see other businesses that do a bang up job with their customer experience, I take copious notes of how we might incorporate it into the way we'll do things.
I'd like to focus on a company that originated in San Francisco called One Medical. If you can believe it, they're reinventing the dreaded doctor's office visit! I've broken it down into four customer experience touch points that make a difference for this business and that all of us might learn from.
1. Ease of Use, Right From the Start
You might hear about One Medical from a friend like me, and go to their friendly website where you might sign up and become a member, or log in. Then you see which physicians are available in a location, or a time slot that's convenient for you (Same day? Yup!) and you can make your appointment. Easy? You bet.
Lesson: Ask someone who doesn't know about your business how they feel about visiting your store or website. Is it the experience you want to portray?
2. Comfortable and Short Wait Time
Every One Medical location has nice, tasteful decor. There aren't a bunch of cheap chairs all facing each other, and no cheesy magazines from last month that an employee brought in. The waiting area is divided into comfortable sections and you get a warm and friendly greeting from someone sitting at a desk, not in back of a glass wall with a bunch of color-coded folders behind them. Plus, you always get seen on time. Waiting becomes a comfortable experience.
Lesson: Is your location set up to reflect your business? Are you edgy or subdued? Does your website reflect how you want your business portrayed? Does your team greet your visitors the way you want them to?
3. Friendly and Informational Visit
Each physician has a comfortable office with a laptop where they document your consultation directly into your account so you have a record of it. They put off a kind, approachable vibe, and never make you feel rushed. A rarity these days when most doctors have about 15 minutes tops, to spend with you.
Lesson: Are your salespeople dressed casually or suited up? How do you want them to speak to visitors whether they call in or come to your business? Is the interaction with your team and your business the way you want it to be? Send some people in and have them describe how they perceive what your biz is all about.
4. Quick Follow-up
One Medical physicians email your prescription directly to the pharmacy of your choice (no paper here) and they email you after your visit to find out how you're feeling.
What's more is you can email your physician anything you want to ask, at any time and expect to get an answer within a few hours!
Lesson: Are you thanking your customers for buying? What does your confirmation email say? Does it reflect your style, or is it too stuffy for how you want to sound? Are you set up to get back to customers quickly with chat, or a phone call, or do you even follow up?
Whether your business is online, offline, or both, take a note of everywhere a customer or a potential customer has to interact with you and form their quick opinion. Then make some changes like we are and give your customer experience a clean bill of health!
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick