It’s a “my pleasure” world…

“The #1 one job of every company is to make their customer’s life easier.”

Verne Harnish

How many companies forget this simple axiom? Heck, how many companies don’t even make doing this a part of their intentional customer experience in any way?

The companies that I am a raving fan of are the companies that are easy to do business with and, in so doing, make my life easier. I might like their products or services, but I love how they serve me. The experience of purchasing or using their services is just as important as the product itself, sometimes more.

In today’s world it often means that the companies who get it right have highly intentional digital experiences that are intently focused on the customer experience and optimizing that experience for simplicity and ease of doing business.

For example, I love the restaurant chain Chick Fil A. They always have incredible customer service and a great product that is consistent and high quality. Over the past couple of years they have taken their intentional customer experience design up a few notches by developing and deploying a highly effective and easy to use digital app for their restaurants. Not only can I find nearby locations when I am traveling, review their menu, place a mobile order, etc. (all basics of doing business in the digital age) but the app remembers my previous orders and allows me to simply and quickly place a favorite custom order without having to going through all the hassle of making the same choices every time I place an order. They solved for my problem, not theirs, and in so doing make my life a little easier when it comes time to get my favorite meal for lunch. With just one or two taps on my screen I can place the order, let the location I am visiting know I am coming and they will have it ready for me when I get there. I didn’t even know that I needed this functionality and now I measure other organizations against the standard that Chick Fil A has set for me!

This sounds so simple right? Why is it a big deal? Because Chick Fil A is focused on my experience, my needs, my problems or challenges as a customer. They have solved for those things with an intentional focus on making my experience with them simple and easy. As a customer I always feel like I am Chick Fil A’s #1 priority and that carries through in how they design their digital experiences. Oh, and guess what? I spend more money with them than I might otherwise because they have made it so easy to do business with them on my terms.

Who are your favorite companies that have a maniacal focus on making your life easier? How are you taking those lessons and applying to the customers you serve in your life?

Every day is a job interview…

“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.”

Kevin Stirtz

I’ve long believed that you have to treat every day as a job interview.  You have to show up and put your very best foot forward.  This absolutely applies when thinking about how you approach your customers.  Every interaction and touchpoint is an opportunity to build a relationship that lasts and keeps them coming back for more.

There is a reason that companies like Chick Fil A, Publix, and Apple are so successful.  They understand this mantra and even when they don’t get it right (and no company gets it right all the time) they take steps to fix the situation.  These companies all have a culture of putting the customer experience first and building what they do around the experience they want to deliver.  It works and they make it a priority down to the smallest details.

By the way, customers don’t have to be the people or companies that you sell products and services to.  It could be the people that you work for and serve in your organization. As a leader it could be the people on your team…  You do want them coming back don’t you?

If you think about every customer experience as a job interview how would it change what you do today?

 

 

Time wasted = life wasted…

“The longer you wait, the harder it is to produce outstanding customer service.”

William H. Davidow

All we have is time.  Time is more valuable than money because no matter what, you can’t buy more of it.  Time wasted is life wasted.

As a customer when does waiting longer for something make it better?  I can’t think of one time where I, as a customer, wanted to wait longer for something than absolutely necessary.  In fact, and especially in today’s world, we should live by the mantra, “when in doubt do it faster.”  Sure, there are experiences where time isn’t a primary concern, such as a great meal at a phenomenal restaurant.  But the minute the time spent is no longer valuable to the customer, it is wasted.  The great meal becomes burdensome if you have to wait for your food longer than you should or if your drink glass sits empty.

Companies that get it right make the customer’s time their top priority.  Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Amazon, Apple, etc. They make it easy to do business with them because they know that they are simply enabling something that I, as the customer, desire to accomplish.  The longer it takes, the harder it is for them to serve my need.  They get that customers are trusting them with their most valuable asset, their time, and they do everything they can to make that time spent worthwhile.

So if an experience takes longer than it should, given that a customer will never be able to get that time back, we are failing our customer.  Period.  Find a way to do it faster.  If you don’t someone else will and do you really want your customer experience to be known as a “life wasting experience?”

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