Customer service is certainly a key part of the customer experience, however the customer experience is the organization and culmination of all customer service actions and how your customers experience them.
Customer experience is much more than customer service.
Customer experience includes all customer service actions; how one is greeted on the phone, the appearance of your building and facility, and the appearance of your team members, the usability of your product, or the efficiency and effectiveness of your services, just to name a few.
Think about it, you could receive great service from your server at a local restaurant, but if the hostess was rude and the kitchen staff could be heard banging dishes and yelling out obscenities, your customer experience is still going to be poor, no matter how good the service from the wait staff was.
Customer experience as a strategy
The customer experience is all about every customer service touchpoint in your organizations working together as one organization to do everything possible to make the customer’s day. A great customer experience is genuine, heartfelt, sincere, and above all it is consistent. But before it can happen, you have to dedicate time to customer experience training, reinforce the importance of the client experience, plan your strategy as part of customer experience management, and ensure that everyone knows how they can improve customer experience.
Chris Young, with The Rainmaker Group, previously shared his experience when it comes to the unification of customer service and creating that exceptional customer experience that sticks in the minds of customers. I wanted to share his thoughts to help pain the picture.
At The Rainmaker Group we strive to help your organization create the kind of customer experience your customers will rave about and can’t get enough of.
We provide a holistic approach to training and avoid “feel good” training that doesn’t stick. Our programs are meant to create a positive lasting change in your organization that will drive revenue growth and create WOW! customer experiences.
The effective of a negative customer experience
This past month, my wife and I had the pleasure of staying at the Sheraton Safari resort in Orlando Florida. The Sheraton Safari knows a thing or two about delivering an exceptional customer experience, and they’ve done a great job of communicating this philosophy to their staff. In the five nights we stayed at this hotel, I cannot think of one experience that wasn’t pleasant, that didn’t make me feel welcome, and that didn’t make me want to come back; it was really incredible.
During the course of our stay, I think we came into contact with just about every staff position in the building. Everyone, the concierge, shuttle driver, gift shop attendant, housekeepers, bar and restaurant staff, front desk staff, and even Rodney the “Safari Guide” seemed to do everything in their power to ensure we had a pleasant stay at the Sheraton Safari.
Every staff member contributes to the customer experience
Customer service training was clearly taking place for the whole organization.
I can’t think of one time that I passed a housekeeper, when I wasn’t greeted with a pleasant smile and a friendly “hello”, even when they were hard at work just inside another guest’s room. From our breakfast server who rushed to meet us with my wife’s forgotten sunglasses just before we boarded our shuttle to Disney, to the bartender who gladly honored my wife’s strangest drink requests, we didn’t have one sub-par experience at the Sheraton Safari.
This hotel was one of those organizations that “get it”. They understand their customers and they know what it takes to create an exceptional customer experience. For the Sheraton it was all about consistency. There were no lapses in the level of service we received from team members, no bad apples, and no let downs.
Consistent service actions is central to customer experience strategy
In a hotel it is clear to see that consistency in the level of customer service provided to patrons is crucial. In a tourist trap such as Orlando many guests spend more than a week at a particular hotel leaving little room for inconsistencies in service.
Consistency in service isn’t only critical in the hotel industry, but is of the utmost of importance for all organizations. Even if your customers only come into your store or call your office every other month, it is still imperative that they receive the same high level of service each and every time. If the customer cannot come to expect an exceptional experience, similar to the one he or she experienced last time, they may be likely to question why they do business with your organization.
The last thing you want a customer to think when it comes to the level of service your organization provides is that it is “hit or miss.” When a customer or client begins to think this way their loyalty to your organization is in serious jeopardy. Unless your firm is a price leader, or has a superior location, there might be little to keep an unsatisfied customer from quickly taking his or her business elsewhere. Even if you are a price leader, enjoy a prime location, or think you have some other “competitive advantage,” this can be quickly undermined and negated by a poor customer experience.
The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to creating an exceptional customer experience is to ensure that all team members are aware of what it means to provide exceptional service. Remember: what one team member considers excellent service can be drastically different from another team member’s view of service. This is where the Sheraton Safari excels – all team members were on the same page when it came to creating an exceptional customer experience.