Customer experience is all about managing every aspect of your customers' journey with your company. Like company culture, every company delivers an experience to their customers, whether or not they plan for it.
Just as there are plenty of examples of the downsides of letting your company culture form on its own (United Airlines culture cost them $800 million overnight), there are no shortage of stories of customer experiences gone awry. You could probably rattle off three bad customer experience stories of your own in less than thirty seconds.
That's why it is essential to be intentional about setting a vision for the experience you want your customers to have whenever they interact with your company. And then you've got to build a company culture that enables you to deliver on that vision at every customer touch-point along your customers' journey with you.
Make sure you deliver remarkable customer experiences -- no matter your industry.
A common complaint that comes when talk of customer experience comes up, is that within certain industries, particularly when a product isn't thought of as "fun," memorable and meaningful experiences isn't possible.
But every experience has the potential to be transformed into a remarkable one. You just have to look for the opportunities, and then seize them.
Last week, while delivering a customer experience workshop for a client, I shared the story of Sharp Healthcare and how they transformed colonoscopies from being an unpleasant memory most would rather not have, into one their patients rave about to their friends.
Sonia Rhodes, former vice-president of customer strategy at Sharp Healthcare, described how Sharp turned the colonoscopy into a positive experience in the think About Times:
When patients visit the Sharp Metropolitan Outpatient Pavilion for a colonoscopy, they encounter something entirely different from the norm. Special attention is paid to personal privacy and dignity. After the procedure juice and crackers are served on a silver tray with stemmed glassware and special mints. And after discharge, all patients receive a phone call as well as a thank-you note signed by each of the caregivers -- including the physicians! The experience is so different that now we have patients recruiting friends and loved-ones to have a colonoscopy. Patients often say that having a colonoscopy was the best health care experience they've had.
The Sharp Healthcare colonoscopy experience was made possible because company leadership first declared how they wanted their patients to feel about the services they delivered.
At Sharp Healthcare, we're doing everything we can to add colonoscopy" Rhodes explained, "and all aspects of healthcare -- to the top of our customers' list of great experiences."
Your company has the power to make what you deliver to your customers make their all-time top ten lists of great experiences as well. But first, you have to declare your vision.
Your company culture must support delivering great customer experiences. Here's how
A lot of great visions get stopped in their tracks because a misaligned company culture overrides them consistently carrying out the customer experience in practice. No bueno.
To ensure this doesn't happen to your business, make sure everyone knows your mission, vision, and values -- and how that connects to delivering delightful customer experiences. Sharp Healthcare did this by holding a series of assemblies with all their staff to share the mission, vision, and purpose, as well as to enroll their support in carrying it out.
Once everyone is clear on the path forward, consistently show your team what good looks like. Provide examples of companies and organizations that do a great job of delivering remarkable experiences both within your industry and without. Highlight people within your company who embody the specific behaviors you want everyone to adopt.
As you work to elevate the experience you want to deliver, involve everyone in your company in creating an environment that fulfills that mission.
At the customer experience workshop I gave for a client last week, aside from delivering the content, we spent much of our time together rolling up our sleeves to brainstorm tangible ways to improve various aspects of the customer journey. Involving the team as co-creators of the solutions raised their awareness about the important role they play in delivering remarkable experiences.
Incorporating diversity of thought, backgrounds, and perspectives adds richness, creativity, and variety to the ideas that will help you and your team innovate in a way that better helps you serve your customers.
Everyone on your team has a role to play in delivering remarkable experiences that win you more customers. Get them to lean into that role by prioritizing delivering great customer experiences as a company goal.
Then roll up your sleeves to build and nurture a company culture that is fanatical about delivering experiences that are meaningful, memorable, and monumental.