Customer experience…it’s something we’re all very familiar with because, after all, while we might not all be customers during the day, all of us play one at home: we’re customers of utility companies, of retailers, of healthcare providers, and the list goes on and on. For that reason, we all know a great customer experience when we see it but, sadly, we recognize many more bad ones. In my experience (pardon the pun), great customer experiences share three key hallmarks presented below; unfortunately, while one of the three is quite easy to attain, achieving all three concurrently is left to a very few companies.
A great customer experience, nearly by definition, is an easy one. It should be easy to reach a provider, easy to relay a problem or request to them, and, ultimately, easy to reach a solution or resolution. While this might not seem like a tall order, consider your latest interactions with a provider or vendor and whether you’d characterize dealing with them as “easy”. The best experiences are the ones where things happen automatically, as if the provider were able to read your mind and answer a question you hadn’t yet asked.
Great customer experiences are always personalized: they’re about you; they account for your history, they know your special circumstances, and they recognize how you’re different from other customers. A personalized experience makes us feel special and cared for. A great experience is one where customers are treated not as categories but as individuals.
A great customer experience ensures that the right, specialized expertise and authority are made available from the onset. No one wants to spend time explaining something to someone who either clearly doesn’t understand its depth or who doesn’t have the authority to do anything about it. We all want to deal with the person who will be able to reach an ultimate resolution, and we want to do so from the very beginning.
Once again, the unfortunate reality is that while achieving one of these hallmarks individually is not a massive undertaking, attaining two is difficult, and achieving all three is left to a rare few companies that provide superlative customer experiences.