If I asked you what you’re selling, what would your answer be?
If you’d answer with whatever service or product you’re offering, think again.
What you’re selling is so much more than just a product or service. For better or worse, what you’re really selling is a customer experience.
If your focus has been on delivering the best product or service of its kind, to the exclusion of all else, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but that’s simply not good enough.
An Amazing Customer Experience
This past weekend my honey and I drove up to Colorado Springs to do some shopping.
Here in Trinidad (pop. 9,000) we have a small Safeway and a Super Walmart available for groceries, and sadly, finding really good produce, meats or fresh fish is difficult if not, at times, impossible.
Glenn and I are total foodies and we love to cook so we were over-the-moon excited to have the opportunity to shop for groceries at the Whole Foods Market while we were there.
We had high hopes and not only did they not disappoint, they went far beyond our expectations.
The produce was fresh, vibrantly colored…everything from baby bok choy to Meyer lemons to every variety of mushroom you could possibly want.
We were beyond thrilled.
And then….the seafood department, at which point I lost the ability to speak intelligently in full sentences and what came out of my mouth was something like:
“Oooo….look! Fresh fish!”
And then moments later…”Oh, honey, look! Chillean Sea Bass!”
“Oooo….fresh shrimp! And sashimi-grade Tuna! And Cod! And Halibut!”
They even had fresh octopus. We were nearly speechless.
And a similar scene unfolded in the meat department, and the cheese department, and the deli, and the bakery. The sheer volume of choices, not to mention the quality of the products, had us totally enraptured.
It was a nearly orgasmic experience and it was all I could do to restrain myself from creating a scene much like Meg Ryan’s character Sally in the deli in “When Harry Met Sally.” (Link warning – may not be appropriate at work)
I had to keep reminding myself that I was in public and that if I wasn’t more careful the shoppers around me were really going to think I’d completely lost my mind. I was, after all, in a grocery store. No big deal, right?
But this wasn’t just any grocery store, and it wasn’t just the quality or variety that so impressed us. Every aspect of this store was exceptional.
It was immaculate. It was visually appealing. It was laid out in a way that made it easy to shop and to find things.
And to top it off, every employee we interacted with was extremely knowledgeable about the products in their particular department and they were incredibly friendly and helpful.
For example, in the fish department, the guy behind the counter, when he heard we had a two hour drive home, offered to wrap our order with ice packs. Something I’d never have thought to ask for, but that I really appreciated.
In the meat department, when we were selecting our steaks, the butcher made a point of letting us know that he had a fantastic marinade that he could marinade our steaks in (free of charge).
It’s those kinds of little details, combined with the quality and selection, which make for a remarkable customer experience.
It’s No Accident
An amazing customer experience like we had at the Whole Foods Market doesn’t happen by chance. It’s not even remotely random.
An amazing customer experience is carefully and thoughtfully designed, delivered and maintained.
If you want not just customers, but raving fans…if you want to create an ever-expanding customer base rather than constantly striving to gain new customers to replace the ones you’ve lost…you need to do the same.
You need to create the most freakin’ amazing customer experience you possibly can and you need to deliver it consistently.
- By paying attention to the details. No detail is too small and in fact, it’s often the tiniest of details that can make the biggest impact.
Your website is your virtual storefront. Is it clean? Is it visually appealing? Is it a really great visual representation of your brand and/or core message? Is it easy to use/navigate? Do you provide truly outstanding customer service? Do you reply to inquiries promptly? Do you go out of your way to insure you do whatever it takes to resolve any issues?
- By asking your customers what they want and how you can be of even better service to them and then listening to, and acting on, the responses you receive.
Customer feedback (even when it seems negative) is priceless. Try to be objective and to keep an open mind. Try to put yourself in your customers’ shoes, to see it from their perspective. Accommodate any reasonable request.
- By continually asking yourself and/or your team, “If I were my own customer what would really blow me away? How can I improve the customer experience I’m delivering?”
Brainstorm as many possibilities as you can and then implement them. You can’t afford to ignore this…because the reality is…whether it’s good or bad or simply mediocre, you are ALREADY delivering a customer experience.
With a little care and attention you can insure that the customer experience you’re creating and delivering is one that will impress the hell out of your peeps, that will have them absolutely gushing about how fabulous you are, and that will keep them coming back again and again.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. What do you think? Do you have a story of an exceptional customer experience? Or on the flip side, a really horrendous customer experience? What do you do to insure an amazing customer experience? Share it in the comments.