Experience is the new battlefield, popular opinion is the new marketing and today’s exceptional experiences are the expectations tomorrow. Customers are better informed, more knowledgeable and most importantly, more experienced than ever before. No matter how big or small, businesses across the board are being forced to address the experiences their customers, and colleagues, have with their brand. Expectations are increasingly more ambitious and sophisticated. For customers good is no longer good enough, whereby your customers and employees expect to be engaged and empowered continuously; today, tomorrow and thereafter. A positive experience that genuinely exceeds expectations say more than any ad campaign ever will! It generates true fans!
Fans are energetic, loyal and prepared to invest more more and time that the average customer. If they are happy, they show their passion open-heartedly and in a impactful way: by writing detailed experience reposts on rating platforms, tweeting ecstatic tweets, creating their own product reviews on YouTube or posting impressive snapshots on instigaram. Fans are delighted and infect others with their enthusiasm.
Meeting expectations will create satisfied customers, which is important. Yet “good” and “satisfaction” are simple not enough anymore. You need to go beyond operational excellence, and delight your customers to make them a fan or a promoter of your brand.
Customers won’t become raving fans when your processes and basic delivery are “just okay”. Operational excellence will help build satisfaction, whereby it is important to realize that merely satisfied customer will not immediately share they experiences with others. Exceeding expectations at every touch point will bring delight, and ideally helps build the desired identity. Ultimately, this will create fans and evangelists, who will actively promote your company, and who are even willing to defend your organisation/brand, when you are being criticised.
Companies that create exceptional customers experience can set themselves from apart from their competitors.
What do my customers want? Leading companies understand that they are in the customer-experience business, and they understand that how a organisation delivers for customers is beginning to be as important as what it delivers. Explore the fundamentals of customer interaction, as well the steps necessary to redesign the business in a more customer-centric fashion and organize it for optimal business outcomes.
Think reverse and enable the desired customer experience and lead and influence everything you do. Start with the desired customer/guest experience in mind, and work your way back to products and services instead of the other way around. Experience is always leading, so you don’t have to compromise. Design the desired customer experience that has the potential to turn every visit into a unforgettable experience. Let this process drive your desired identify (your who), your reason for being (your why) influences your behaviour, interaction, and processes (your how), as well as your products, services and processes (your what).
Only if you know what your brand stands for, you can create an environment that brings your strongest benefits and true ideal to life. “Start with WHY” enables members to tell their customers their story and offer experiences that are inspiring and authentic. As the WHY is a brand promise that springs from the honest believes of the executives, its messages ring true; an honesty customer can feel.
The reverse journey convert all aspects of an organisation, from brand and customer experience to operational excellence. Here are a few questions to understand how reverse thinking works:
- What is the desired experience of you brand?
- What leadership does your organisation need to empower your employees?
- What kind of training does each of your employees need? What type of learning work best for them?
- What qualities does your employees have? How do you set them for success and sustainable growth?
- How can you make sure employees can fulfil your brand promise every moment every day?
Closing the gap between brand promise and customer experience
Experiences have become the new currency in the interaction with customer and employees. Emotional bonding has become indispensable for companies. Delighting others means creating authentic and personal marketing that impact inward as well as outward relations. Brand promise and reality are rarely congruent. Customer experiences often turn out the be disappointments as the leve of expectations is nor met.
When you think reverse it puts your desired customer experience first. From this position it shapes factors like the corporate culture, your company’s leadership style, talent development and desired employees behaviour. A brand promise that expresses”: WHO am I? Why do I do, What do I do? Has to be defined. This core identity is the starting point for closing the gap between brand promise and customer experience. Turning customers into raving fans!
Customer satisfaction # Customer loyalty
There is a big diference between satisfaction and loyalty. Customer satisfaction is an expression of customer attitudes regarding products, services, and brands. It tells you whether customers see you/your brand as good, or not. Customer loyalty goes further and tells you to what extend customers think you are beyond good; be it great, awesome, delightful, etc. Loyalty has multiple dimensions and is an expression of attitude, feelings, and behaviour. Being good and generating satisfaction are not enough anymore. Customer satisfaction has become a less relevant. For this reason, companies are closing down their customer satisfaction and customer care departments, which make perfect sense. Instead, more and more leaders see the need for a totally new approach to customer experience, and either convert their satisfaction department into a customer experience department or division. Or they start building from scratch, with an often completely new approach and different focus, using different and more contemporary media. The good news for the customer of experience providers that get it, is that solving problems and handling complaint in most cases has become a matter of minutes to less than an hour (compared to days or weeks in the old days). This, of course, creates a challenge for those companies who haven’t yet developed a solid vision on, and strategy for customer experience.
Employees are brand ambassadors
Only in the moment between your customers and your employees does your desired customer experience become reality. Here business transactions turn into positive moments and cherished memories that are being shared with potential new customers. Your staff represents your brand and makes it come to life every day. A clear corporate identity and a confident WHY help to strengthen your employees’s self confidence, create orientation and motivation. Thus, putting your desired customer experience first also mean putting your employees first. This way your employees can develop their talents to the fullest and use them to create the best possible customer experience, resulting in:
- Raving fans
- Loyal customers having experienced positive brad experiences
- Increased revenue because of authentic marketing
- Differentiation of your competitors due to a unique brand promise
Turn managers into stewards
Whereas management is a rational process, focused on the technical aspects of management, leadership relates to people and their role in the company. Developing a new corporate culture connected to a focus on the desired customer experience requires a concentration on the personal aspects of cooperation. Employees need leadership and talent development to fulfil their role as brand ambassadors and to create the perfect customer experience.
Leadership requires personal dedication. You have to channel energy, generate enthusiasm for the brand promise and convince through credibility. It is up to you to create an environment where team members contribuite with their talents and potential. Reverse thinking put your employees in the spotlight. As a steward, you are often the “invisible presence”, a motivational voice in the background.
Reverse learning and neurolinguistic processes
Traditional learning starts with remembering and end with creating. However, 70% of learning occurs on the job while actively doing something, and 20% happens while being instructed by colleagues or supervisors. Only 10% of someones’s learning development comes theoretical courses. Of those, 10% people are likely to forget almost everything if their environment doesn’t support what they have learned. This makes it hard to develop new skills and create a new perspective for the corporate culture.
To create a new corporate and leadership culture, one that turns your customers into fans, it is necessary to switch to innovative learning methods: Reverse learning starts with your shared context, your WHY, which is geared to the desired brand promise. Trainings that inspire people to reflect on their behaviour to the desired brand promise. Training that inspire people to reflect on their behaviour and their patterns. Instead of teaching something and making your employees simply learn it by heart, they are being shown what the connection is between their behaviour and the customer experience. Thus, “actively doing” is the focus right from the start.
“Each person hold so much power within themselves that need to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.” – Pete Carroll
If you can breath, you can perform. But only if you’re inspired, ou can excel and achieve the exceptional. Many companies, however, focus on performance instead of potential. Getting better at what you are already good at is fun. This happiness is the key to development. Whereas competence management focuses on what you are not good at (yet), talent management encourages and facilitates you to do what you are passionate about. Learning and working based on your strengths cost less energy, in fact, it gives you energy! Knowing your strengths, enables you to understand why certain things cost energy, while otters are effortless.
The “WOW” moment
Everything come together in the WOW moment, that very instant when the employees and customer meet and the brand experience positively exceed the customer’s expectations. The previously defined brand experience is being brought to life by the employee who acts as a brand ambassador. Now the customer becomes a fan. To make this happened the foundations have to fit. This means the company’s leadership style has to be turned to supporting the employees, to make it possible for the employees to use their talents to enhance the customer experiences in the most authentic way.