Skip to main content
Louise Berry

Louise Berry  ·  6 min read

The value of great customer experience

Businesses who create great customer experience are more likely to have happy employees. It’s these employees who are creating connections with your customers – a phone call, a letter or email, a face-to-face interaction.

And how the secret to happy customers is happy employees

customer experience interact
Photo by Zoe Deal on Unsplash

UK florists Bloom & Wild recently sent an email addressing the problem that Mother’s Day posed for some people. For those who have lost or have estranged relationships with their mothers, this time of the year can prove painful, and the deluge of marketing emails is a constant reminder in the weeks leading up to the day.

In the message, Bloom & Wild enabled the recipient to opt out of any Mother’s Day promotional emails. A simple gesture that went behind the mailing list to treat each individual as a human.

eBook

Happiness: The key to business success in 2019

Happy employees are twice as productive as their unhappy counterparts. Download our free eBook and make sure your workforce is happy and engaged throughout 2019 and beyond.

The email is a simple idea, but to those millions of people who have lost their mothers, it felt gracious and heartfelt. Dimming the Mother’s Day noise a little bit is a welcome act of kindness to those who struggle through this poignant day. Is this a new stage in the customer experience?

Businesses who create great customer experience are more likely to have happy employees. It’s these employees who are creating connections with your customers – a phone call, a letter or email, a face-to-face interaction. These moments are not driven from the top, but from the behaviours of people on the floor. So, generally, when customers have a positive experience with a business, it’s because the employee responsible is happy and willing to go the extra mile.

Companies are realizing that creating an exceptional customer experience is one of their most valuable tools. Building a strategy that your brand can focus on will have incredible advantages for your staff, your customers and your business’s bottom line.

eBook

Happiness: The key to business success in 2019

Happy employees are twice as productive as their unhappy counterparts. Download our free eBook and make sure your workforce is happy and engaged throughout 2019 and beyond.

The human connection

One of the most famous examples of nailing the experience, both for customers and employees, is online footwear retailer, Zappos. The perks for staff are well noted: free food and drink, free onsite gym and ‘The Offer’ which offers $1,000 to new recruits to quit, a tactic that roots out those employees who are committed and those who aren’t.

But it’s the customer experience that gets talked about frequently. These are stories that get shared around the dinner table, amongst friends and online, and are arguably the best kind of marketing.

When a customer was late returning a pair of shoes after the death of a family member, the Zappos team went out of their way to organize a courier to pick up the shoes at no cost. A note and a bouquet of flowers was sent offering their condolence.

Zappos also make sure there is no script to their service calls, which means conversations take on a life of their own. There is also no limit to duration of calls in customer service. This encourages staff to have enough time to sort out their customers queries to the best of their abilities. In fact, the longest customer service call that Zappos have on record is 10 hours and 51 minutes. Their 24/7 call center coupled with their 365-day return policy means customers are not restricted as to when they sort out their order query.

Focus on the individual

One of the most powerful ways of creating an excellent customer experience is making your audience feel individual. There are a number of ways of doing that, and like Zappos have demonstrated, the foundation to this is listening to the customer. Something that the Irish food retailer, SuperValu, acts on constantly in all areas of the business, including the very top. Founder and company president, Feargal Quinn, invites a group of customers to meet him in person for a round table discussion every month.

eBook

Happiness: The key to business success in 2019

Happy employees are twice as productive as their unhappy counterparts. Download our free eBook and make sure your workforce is happy and engaged throughout 2019 and beyond.

It’s at these meetings, where he asks them about their opinions of their shopping experience at the SuperValu supermarkets, thoughts on pricing, quality and service. All this feedback is acted on and fed into planning and development with managers and the senior level of the organization.

Using AI to create exceptional experiences

While so far, our customer experiences are human-driven, there is room for AI in this field. While speaking to a human will, for the foreseeable future, trump a chatbot, there is less hands-on interactions where AI works beautifully.

Take Netflix for instance, who have created a customer experience from the minute a customer signs up. Despite the millions of users streaming Netflix every day, each account has countless algorithms all working away to make each person have an individual experience. And this only improves with time, as the system gets to know the user and what they watch. What do they search for; what do they watch after one programme is finished; what is stopped after a few minutes?

Of course, this unique experience would be spoiled if there were multiple users. Which is why a Netflix account allows you to add difference profiles to the same account, so a whole family can access and still enjoy a personalized movie selection.

This surveillance only serves to make your Netflix experience a deeply personal one. Instead of the user searching the vast library of programmes and films, the service adapts to the habits of the viewer to ease the path to finding the next great discovery. Netflix further enriches the experience by offering the user a range of options based on their habits. So for those who like to fall asleep to a programme, the screening will stop after a period of inactivity. Those impatient to catch up on the next instalment of a gripping series, a notification appears at the beginning offering to skip the intro credits for the viewer.

eBook

Happiness: The key to business success in 2019

Happy employees are twice as productive as their unhappy counterparts. Download our free eBook and make sure your workforce is happy and engaged throughout 2019 and beyond.

The feel-good story

Tiger bread is the UK name for a type of bread with a mottled crust, and is known as Dutch Crunch or Marco Polo bread in the U.S. It is sold in-store bakeries in major supermarkets.

Sainsbury’s supermarkets received a letter from Lily Robinson aged 3-and-a-half. She was writing to let them know that the loaf didn’t resemble a tiger at all, more a giraffe, and should therefore be renamed giraffe bread. Chris King, from the customer service team, wrote a letter back to Lily,

“I think renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea — it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it? It is called tiger bread because the first baker who made it a loooong time ago thought it looked stripey like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly.”

Lily was pleased with the response, and her mum posted it on her blog. But this endearing correspondence soon went viral and a Facebook page was created to campaign to change the name of the product to ‘Giraffe Bread’.

The supermarket amused by the online attention, decided to rename the bread, highlighting its change to customers with a sign beneath the products instore.

These examples are some of the endless ways that businesses can go the extra mile for their customer. And that can be as powerfully positive as bad customer service can be negative. For zero charge, the good story your organization is told to friends, family and often online, bolstering your brand and raising your profile. It’s not just about a positive experience, it also fosters engagement and loyalty to your brand.

It’s not about feel-good stories. A good customer experience is vital to the growth of your organization. A study by Temkin Group, found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within 3 years of investing in customer experience.

Which means, companies who focus on creating a solid customer experience strategy achieve higher customer satisfaction rates, reduced customer churn and increased revenues.  

According to a report by Gallup titled, “The State of the American Workplace”, employees who are engaged are more likely to improve customer relationships, with a resulting 20% increase in sales.

So how can we create a healthy workplace culture and happy employees? There are many ways employers can nurture a positive work environment.

Develop your employees: Employees will be more likely to engage, commit and be happy in their jobs if they are aware of opportunities to grow and develop within their position within the organization. Knowing that they can be supported, trained and helped to fulfil their potential will make them far more likely to provide better customer service.

Empower individuals to recognize peers: Reward and recognition programs are a powerful way to bolster a positive workplace culture. These programs not only set a good example to the organization but inspire workers to go further in their roles – and providing an exceptional customer experience can be one of these outcomes.

Train your people: Employees who are trained in all aspects of their job from onboarding to long term coaching are better informed staff. Workers with effective training will be able to apply their learning and skills to creating great customer experience.

eBook

Happiness: The key to business success in 2019

Happy employees are twice as productive as their unhappy counterparts. Download our free eBook and make sure your workforce is happy and engaged throughout 2019 and beyond.

Essential intranet guide

A must-have guide for every stage of your intranet journey.

Download our free guide and learn how to get the most from your intranet; whether you're looking to make improvements to your existing platform, or you're planning a new project.

Free intranet guide

Plan & deploy a successful intranet with our most popular guide

planning and deploying cover image Download now