Steve Jobs was a well-known Zen master of customer experience philosophy, and he used his powers for the good of Apple.
“You have to start with the customer experience and work backward toward the technology.” - Steve Jobs
But it isn’t just Apple who knows this. Centering a business’s goals and designs on the customer has worked for other prosperous companies, such as Toyota, Zappos, and Amazon. The idea is to focus on the touchpoints — the areas of the customer experience that satisfy customers and create a positive experience between them and the company. When followed correctly, these touchpoints translate into benefits for both the customer and the business.
Listening to Each Customer
One insignificant complaint can become a public relations nightmare for a company. However, when considered thoughtfully it can also prove to be the beginning of a better product, or more streamlined service.
Companies that engage with their audience, and listen to every customer make their customers feel valued. It’s not just the complaints or the compliments either. Knowing a customer’s aspirations, dreams, and goals helps a business know what people are looking for and how to mold their products to match their customer’s desires.
It also lets your customers know that you’re in it for them, with them. There’s no hiding the idea that businesses are out to make money. People don’t fault companies for that. However, they love companies that want to make money by helping people first.
An Example is Sam Lloyd the owner of utbreastaugmentation.com said:
"I found that lots of girls told me they didn't want other people to know they were looking into breast augmentation. We decided to create a site that never actually showed breasts or skinny models that were unrealistically attractive. Its seems counterintuitive but we focused more on the emotional side of why women consider getting augmentation rather than trying to lie to them and imply "we can make you look just like this". The conversion rate has shown that despite being counterintuitive its actually quite effective. I have had women specifically say they chose me because they felt like we [as a company] understood that breast augmentation was more about emotional confidence than looking good in a bikini."
Highlight Company Differences
When Toyota started business in the U.S, it constructed its manufacturing plants in Kentucky, not because it was the cheapest place to build, but because the plants would be located within 1,000 miles of 80 percent of the U.S. population. This cut down on shipping costs.
Toyota also vowed to produce products guaranteed to last. Sure, a longer-lasting car meant its customers wouldn’t need a new one for another decade, but it also meant that their customers would return for future purchases for themselves or family.
That quality, and service driven approach is a big part of what made Toyota different than its competitors, and the company wasn’t afraid to show it. Company CEOs and others in charge of management often touted this fact during interviews with the media.
Commit to the Customer
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com understands commitment to the customer.
“If you’re truly obsessed with your customers, it will cover a lot of your other mistakes.”
The truth is that companies are fallible the same way people are. The only difference is that they sometimes make billions of dollars, as is the case with Amazon. However, when a company makes it clear that the customer comes first, those mistakes become much easier for the public to overlook.
One of these easiest ways to do this is to develop a customer relations team that answers emails directly and personally instead of with form emails. While a form email is better than no contact at all, that personal touch makes a customer feel cared for.
Part of what makes creativity such a desirable trait is that it shows an active thinking process. Businesses that are constantly exploring new ways to deliver products and new ways to interact with their customers also demonstrate how dedicated they are to finding solutions.
What you create doesn’t even have to be something big. Zappos showcased its creativity in solving a huge apparel problem. Shopping online for shoes is a difficult process because people can’t try them on. Zappos solution was to allow them to ship the shoes back for free if they didn’t fit.
The company had to absorb some of the loss, but it showed that they were looking for new ways to make the customer experience positive. Of course, they also show off their creativity in the many different styles they offer.
Reach the Customer’s Heart
So many companies can donate money to charities or worthwhile causes. However, companies that find creative ways to approach similar problems and help people make the customer experience better.
The reasoning is fairly simple. If the other touchpoints on this list are met, the customer will feel a connection with the company. And, if that company then does something wonderful that touches the customer’s heart, the customer will feel they are a part of it too.
Of course, of all the points in this article, this is the one may be the most rewarding, but it isn’t the last one.
Know when the details of your great customer service should go unnoticed.
This one might be a bit difficult to take, but the truth is some of the most significant details of customer service are the things customers never notice, because that’s the whole point. Think of it in the reverse. Many customer complaints come from oversights in details they never should have noticed.
Richard Fertig, the founder of Brilliant Transportation understands this point only too well. Fertig’s company provides a service that, while extremely important to the smooth execution of high-profile events like the Super Bowl, or luxury weddings, is supposed to blend into the background. He says other transportation providers don’t even consider the deep details of good service.
“Most transportation services think that if they’ve take the 300 or so guests from the airport to the wedding, then they’ve done their job,” Fertig says.
“Their focus singularly revolves around how many busses or Mercedes sprinter limo's that it will take, and that’s it.”
Fertig says the things people notice, like the sound of backup alarms during a wedding ceremony, or beams of headlights panning across an audience as the transportation fleet moves past, or the cluster of crowded vehicles that jams up the flow of traffic when proper parking space hasn’t been planned out, those are all things that customers notice when it goes wrong, and they don’t notice when it goes right. And that, according to Fertig, is just as it should be.
So in conclusion, if your spending your budget on digital marketing, SEO and content remember that that coveted no.1 spot on google may not be worth as much as you think, and good ol' customer service is still effective, even in the digital world of 2015.