Use These Customer Service Tales to Make Your UX Better P

Use These Customer Service Tales to Make Your UX Better P

7 Unforgettable Customer Service Stories

 

Inspirational Customer Experience Stories

 

Why do consumers enjoy reading stories of great customer experiences?  It might be that these stories personalize your business and provide a constant reminder that there are amazing professionals and companies who create a customer experience with their unforgetable customer service.

Every company says that they put their customers #1 on their priority list.  However stories like these show us that some businesses actually go the extra mile for each and every one of their customers. 

As Benjamin Franklin would put it: “Well done is better than well said.”

We wholeheartedly agree, and throughout this post, we’ll take a close look at some memorable stories in an effort to highlight those businesses who “walk the walk” when it comes to delivering the kind of service that wins a customer over for life.

Along the way, you’ll find insights for your own business to consider and some exceptional inspiration to pass on to your support team.

Enjoy!

Trader Joe’s Actually Delivered

 

A woman was worried that her 89 year old father was snowed in at his Pennsylvania home and wasn’t going to have enough food for the holidays because of the bad weather in the area.

She frantically called multiple stores in a desperate attempt to find anyone who would deliver to her father’s home.  She finally reached someone at Trader Joe’s.  The Trader Joe’s associate politely told her that they do not deliver … normally.

 

Trader Joe's said that given the extreme circumstances they would gladly deliver directly to his home

Given the extreme circumstance, they told her that they would gladly deliver directly to his home, and even suggested additional delivery items that would fit perfectly with his special low-sodium diet.

After the daughter placed the order for the food, the employee on the phone told her that she didn’t need to worry about the price; the food would be delivered free of charge.  The employee then wished her a Merry Christmas.

Less than 30 minutes later the food was at the man’s doorstep — for free!

In refusing to let red tape get in the way of a customer in need, Trader Joe’s shows that customer service doesn’t need to be about the fanfare.  By empowering their employees to act outside of company guidelines, Trader Joe’s shows that their company philosophy is customer focused rather than operations focused.  

Their employees embrace making the customer the heart of their customer experience.  Your companies core values are integral to making your customer experience simply about doing whats right.

 

Dying Mother Changes United Airlines Flight Schedule

 

It’s always heart-wrenching when a close family member passes.  Sharing the final moments with a person we love can be a small respite in a truly difficult situation.

 

When Kerry Drake got on his United Airlines flight, the mother he was en route to see was facing her final hours.  To add an extra layer of distress, Drake knew that if he missed his connecting flight he would likely not see her before she passed.

After his first flight got delayed, Drake broke down into tears on the plane.  The flight attendants soon noticed his state and quickly found out what was wrong.  Within minutes, Drake’s dilemma was re- layed to the captain, who radioed ahead to Drake’s next flight.

The flight’s crew responded by delaying the flight’s departure to make sure he got on board.

“I was still like maybe 20 yards away when I heard the gate agent say, ‘Mr. Drake, we’ve been expecting you,’” he said.

When Drake finally sat on the second flight, he realized how much went into getting him onto the plane.  He realized how the United Airlines flight crews had put his needs above their flight schedule.  They were able to do this because they felt that the customer’s needs were greater than any company mandates.

Kerry said, “I was overcome with emotion!”

 

United Airlines staff members working together to go above-and-beyond the call of duty to help this customer was that Drake made it to the hospital in time to see his mother

The result of many staff members working together to go above-and-beyond the call of duty.  They helped this customer, Kerry Drake make it to the hospital in time to see his mother.

“At one point she opened her eyes, and I think she recognized me,” said Drake, who spent the night at the hospital.  “Around 4 a.m. she had a real moment of coherence, a last rally, although we didn’t know it at the time.  It was the last time.”

She died that very morning.

Drake wrote the staff a heartfelt thank you letter expressing his immense gratitude for a team who was willing to pull together and pull out all the stops to assist in any way they could.

 

Son Thanks United Airlines for the opportumity to say final goodbye to his Mother

In the coverage of this story on CNN, consumer advocate Christopher Elliot said:

“Airline employees are evaluated based on their ability to keep a schedule.  Airlines compete with each other on who has the best on-time departure record.  When the crew on this flight heard about this distraught passenger trying to make his connection, they must have said, ‘To hell with it’ … and they made the right call.”

We think so, too.

 

Joshie the Giraffes’ Extended Vacation at Ritz-Carlton

 

Ritz-Carlton is one of those few large companies that is held to high standards from their consumers.  With an almost legendary reputation for service, one has to wonder: Do they really live up to the hype?

 

The story of Joshie the giraffe certainly presents a compelling case for “yes!”  In case you’ve never come across this fantastic tale, the story begins when customer Chris Hurn’s son left his favorite stuffed giraffe, “Joshie,” in their hotel room after a recent stay.

 

The story begins when customer Chris Hurn’s son left his favorite stuffed giraffe, “Joshie,” in their hotel room after a recent stay.

Mr. Hurn assured his distraught son that Joshie was just staying a few extra days on vacation.  He then called the staff at the Ritz and relayed the story he had told his son.

In an all-star effort to make everything right for their customer, the staff at the Ritz created a series of photographs that included all of the activities Joshie had been involved in during his “extended vacation.”

First things first.  They knew Joshie couldn’t just be aimlessly wandering around the Ritz without a staff card … so they made him one!

 

They knew Joshie couldn’t just be aimlessly wandering around the Ritz without a staff card ... so they made him one!

After that, Joshie headed over to the pool area to relax.

 

After that, Joshie headed over to the pool area to relax.

Not one to sit around and do nothing, Joshie helped out in the loss prevention department.

 

Not one to sit around and do nothing, Joshie helped out in the loss prevention department.

Joshie then decided to melt away some stress with a spa day.

 

Joshie then decided to melt away some stress with a spa day.

To top it all off, the Ritz sent Hurn and his son a booklet filled with information about Joshie’s stay as well as a host of pictures showing what a good time he’d had.  What a story!

 

The Ritz sent Hurn and his son a booklet filled with information about Joshie’s stay

Bungie Studios Created a Holiday Smile

 

The belief that you should do your best to “make things right” with customers in tough situations is a recurring theme among those companies with legendary customer service.  That said, even the greats of the customer service world will have a hard time topping this next story.

In another outstanding example of taking care of customers, Bungie Studios, one of the most beloved game developers in the industry, raised the bar for their willingness to take care of their fans.

The story begins with a distraught father whose son had to receive liver transplant surgery around the holidays.

Since being in the hospital left his son unable to play the newest release of his favorite video game franchise, Halo, his dad reached out to Bungie.

The response he received from the company went far beyond what anyone expected!  First, the entire Bungie team signed and sent a card with get-well wishes.

 

First, the entire Bungie team signed and sent a card with get-well wishes.

To make up for missing out on playing Halo, the team built him a custom helmet based off of the main character and sent it along with shirts, toys and custom art from the game’s designers.

 

The team built him a custom helmet based off of the main character and sent it along with shirts, toys and custom art from the game’s designers.

His father later posted a thank you thread and a collection of images on Christmas day, which was when Bungie visited his son in the hospital and brought the gifts.

 

Bungie, you have played a huge part in making this smile!

“He was absolutely shocked when he saw the custom helmet from Halo Reach!  Bungie, you have played a huge part in making this smile!  My family can’t thank you enough!”

 

A Loyal Customer is ‘WOWed’ by Gaylord Opryland

 

It doesn’t take a lot of consumer data to support the argument that your regular customers are the rock you build your business on.  Taking care of them is not just the right thing to do.  It’s also good for business.

Let’s look at the case of regular Gaylord Opryland hotel customer Christina McMenemy.  She stayed at the resort three years in a row for the annual BlissDom conference.

During each stay McMenemy found herself entranced by one of the features in her hotel room.  She loved the alarm clock that played light music, much like the kind of music that you’d experience in a highend spa.

McMenemy loved the clock radio.  She felt that she had never slept better than she did while using it.

For three years McMenemy tried to find the exact model clock from her hotel room, but to no avail. McMenemy had nearly given up hope when she messaged the company’s Twitter page during her most recent trip to Opryland.

customer user experinces,customer service,customer experience,user experience,make your ux better,ux,cs,customer service stories,trader joe's actually delivered,united airlines,extended vacation,joshie the giraffe,ritz-carlton,bungie studios,holiday smile,loyal customer,gaylord opryland,lego,ninja,ninjago,auto service,customer user experiences,

Christina from OH@mommystory

@GaylordOpryland Where can I buy this Sharper Image clock radio in my room? None in stores have the “spa” sounds & I’ve never slept better!

See Christina from OH’s other Tweets

customer user experinces,customer service,customer experience,user experience,make your ux better,ux,cs,customer service stories,trader joe's actually delivered,united airlines,extended vacation,joshie the giraffe,ritz-carlton,bungie studios,holiday smile,loyal customer,gaylord opryland,lego,ninja,ninjago,auto service,customer user experiences,

Gaylord Opryland Resort@GaylordOpryland

@mommystory Unfortunately, our version isn’t available to the public, but here is a Shaper Image alarm clock like it: http://amzn.to/ADMXzL .

See Gaylord Opryland Resort’s other Tweets

customer user experinces,customer service,customer experience,user experience,make your ux better,ux,cs,customer service stories,trader joe's actually delivered,united airlines,extended vacation,joshie the giraffe,ritz-carlton,bungie studios,holiday smile,loyal customer,gaylord opryland,lego,ninja,ninjago,auto service,customer user experiences,

Christina from OH@mommystory

@GaylordOpryland Yeah, that one doesn’t have the spa sound.  Been looking for one after loving the 1 in my room for 3yr now at Blissdom. 🙁

See Christina from OH’s other Tweets

Resigned to her fate, she attended the conference and let the alarm clock hunt go.

But upon returning to her room she was surprised to find not one but two spa clocks and a letter with her name on it.

 

But upon returning to her room she was surprised to find not one but two spa clocks and a letter with her name on it.

Opryland recognized an opportunity to make sure a long-time customer had one of the best experiences ever.  And they didn’t just win a customer for life, they also bought plenty of goodwill with folks at the conference and beyond who subsequently heard about the story.

 

You’ve made a lifelong fan out of me.” –Christina McMenemy

“You reaffirmed that there are still companies out there focused on great service, and you’ve made a lifelong fan out of me.”–Christina McMenemy

 

Luka’s Day is Saved by a Lego Service Rep

 

Losing a favorite toy feels devastating to a young child.  Longtime Lego fan Luka Apps spent all of his Christmas money on a Ninjago (Lego ninja) named Jay XZ.  Against his dad’s advisement, he brought his Ninjago on a shopping trip … and lost it.

 

Luka wrote a letter to Lego explaining his loss and assuring the Lego staff that he would take extra-special care of his action figure if they sent him another one.

 

Luka wrote a letter to Lego explaining his loss and assuring the Lego staff that he would take extra-special care of his action figure if they sent him another one.
Hello.

My name is Luka Apps and I am seven years old.

With all my money I got for Christmas I bought the Ninjago kit of the Ultrasonic Raider.  The number is 9449.  It is really good.

My Daddy just took me to Sainsbury’s and told me to leave the people at home but I took them and I lost Jay ZX at the shop as it fell out of my coat.

I am really upset I have lost him.  Daddy said to send you a email to see if you will send me another one.

I promise I won’t take him to the shop again if you can.

– Luka

 

The response he received from Lego customer representative Richard was nothing short of amazing.  Richard told Luke that he had talked to Sensei Wu a Ninjago character, and wrote:

Sensei Wu told me to tell you, “Luka, your father seems like a very wise man.  You must always protect your Ninjago minifigures like the dragons protect the Weapons of Spinjitzu!”

Sensei Wu also told me it was okay if I sent you a new Jay and told me it would be okay if I included something extra for you because anyone that saves their Christmas money to buy the Ultrasonic Raider must be a really big Ninjago fan.

 

The response he received from Lego customer support representative Richard was nothing short of amazing.
So, I hope you enjoy your Jay minifigure with all his weapons.  You will actually have the only Jay minifigure that combines 3 different Jays into one!  I am also going to send you a bad guy for him to fight!

Just remember, what Sensei Wu said: keep your minifigures protected like the Weapons of Spinjitzu!  And of course, always listen to your dad.

It’s so rare to see such a thoughtful, creative response to a distraught customer that this story went viral.

 

A Lego Service Rep Saves the Day

Jim Shukys’ Auto Service Sweats the Small Stuff

 

Many of the memorable stories that we’ve covered so far focus on a company’s stellar response to an usual situation … but what about those day-to-day service stories?

Superb service is not limited to out of the ordinary circumstances. It can be incorporated into the very fabric of your business, showing up in even the most common of instances.

That’s why we love this next story shared by a customer in Streetsboro, Ohio.

 

The story was posted on Reddit under the appropriately titled topic of “I have never in my life seen this level of customer service” and included this genuine, thoughtful thank-you note.

 

Jimyz Automotive story was posted on Reddit with the appropriately titled topic of “I have never in my life seen this level of customer service”

The best part of this tale is that despite the fact that this image was shared on the internet, random commenters started pointing out that they knew who this was:

“I used to live in Streetsboro and I know exactly who that is.  He’s a good man, stay with him!”

 

Now that’s the definition of memorable service!  The praise continued with noncustomers, too, with one commenter saying,

“It’s little things like this that earn business.  If I got this card I would never use another mechanic in my life.”

Do you have a great customer service story you can share with us?  Tell us how someone went ‘above and beyond’ to give you a truly memorable, remarkable and relatable customer service experience….

 

Your Marketing has to be Memorable Remarkable and Relatable P

Your Marketing has to be Memorable Remarkable and Relatable P

Word of Mouth Marketing Defined

 

According to the Business Dictionary, Word of Mouth Marketing is:

 

“An oral or written recommendation made by a satisfied customer to the prospective customers of a good or service.  Considered to be the most effective form of promotion, it is also called word of mouth advertising which is incorrect because, by definition, advertising is a paid and non-personal communication.  “

 

The Better Business Alliance Defines Word of Mouth

 

Here at the Better Business Alliance, we define Word of Mouth Marketing a little differently:

 

“Turning your customers into your most effective sales and marketing asset by doing something they don’t expect, thus giving them a story to tell.”

 

As a practical matter, that’s not quite nuanced enough either.  Because even when you succeed in getting your customers to talk about your business, there are still two different types of word of mouth.  They are reactive word of mouth, and proactive word of mouth.

 

Word of Mouth Creates a Conversation

 

To achieve either type of Word of Mouth, you need to first understand that competency doesn’t create conversation.  When you do exactly what your customers expect and anticipate you will do, they do not mention that to anyone because there is no STORY there.  

You need to do something remarkable, unexpected, and memorable to kick off the Word of Mouth conversation that you are hoping to create.

 

Word of Mouth is About the Extraordinary

 

I have never said to anyone, “Hey, let me tell you about this perfectly adequate experience I had recently.”  That would be a terrible story.  Not interesting to tell, and not interesting to hear. Word of mouth requires story crafting.  

Word of Mouth is not something that can be brainstormed in a meeting.  WOM will rise out of the customer experience which you create in your business.  Word of Mouth is part of your customer experience, it’s something your business does which will make your customers excited and they will tell their friends about it.

 

What’s Your Story Catalyst?

 

Once you have a story catalyst, we call them Speech Triggers, you will prompt one or both of the two types of word of mouth.

To demonstrate the difference between reactive word of mouth and proactive word of mouth, let’s use one of our favorite examples, the chocolate chip cookie at DoubleTree Hotels.  Every day, for nearly 30 years, DoubleTree has given each guest a warm, chocolate chip cookie at check-in.

Those cookies are GREAT.  And people tell stories about those cookies constantly.  Research found that 34% of DoubleTree’s guest have told a story about the cookie.  That means that given that they give out 75,000 cookies each day, the story is told approximately 22,500 times every 24 hours.  That’s a LOT of word of mouth.

And that’s why you don’t see much advertising from DoubleTree.  The cookie is the ad, and the guests are the media.

 

Reactive Word of Mouth Definition

 

Reactive Word of Mouth is when your customer mentions your product or service when prompted, in the midst of an offline conversation, an online exchange, or similar situation.

For example, if I was with some friends at dinner and someone asked, “We’re going on a trip to Houston, any idea where we should stay?”  I might chime in with “Yes!  The DoubleTree at the Galleria is terrific, and the chocolate chip cookies at the front desk are the best.”

I am reacting to the situation and am making a recommendation in that context.  “Referrals” is what reactive word of mouth is called in some instances.

 

Proactive Word of Mouth Definition

 

Proactive Word of Mouth is when your customer introduces or inserts your product or service into a topically unrelated offline conversation, online exchange, or similar situation.

For example, if I was at the same dinner, with the same people and someone asked, “Anyone do anything interesting lately?”  I might answer  “Yes! I was in Houston last week.  I stayed at the DoubleTree, and you would not believe the amazing chocolate chip cookies they hand out at the front desk.”

In this scenario, I am not waiting for the topic to come around to hotels before mentioning DoubleTree and their famous cookies.  Instead, I am inserting the cookies into a broader conversation and turning the topic toward DoubleTree.

 

Which Word of Mouth is Best?

 

Both types of word of mouth are important.  Because, word of mouth is the most persuasive and most common way that people are influenced to make buying decisions.

However, proactive word of mouth is the more desirable type because it requires your customer to be enthralled with your product or service.  They feel compelled to find a way to bring it up in conversation, even if it’s not on topic.

 

Word of Mouth is all About Telling a Story

 

Telling a story when asked is one thing.  Telling a story without being asked is something else entirely.  It requires more conviction and more passion.

To make sure the word of mouth about you is proactive as much as possible, you need to make certain that your Speech Trigger is truly unique, remarkable, and memorable.  You have to do something different, that your customers do not expect, and then find irresistible.

 

Why Your Business Needs a Proactive User Experience P

Why Your Business Needs a Proactive User Experience P

Your Customer Service Can’t Just be Reactive

 

Now that more interactions between customers and companies are taking place in public forums, being proactive has become increasingly important.  Today business has to contend with customer reviews coming via social media, online review sites, and beyond.

This has made the Customer Service stakes for your business higher than ever.  The attention given to your user experience is an investment in your businesses future.  Even with renewed focus, the vast majority of customer service resources are still reactive.

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Everyone wants to know, “How can we best interact with customers who are seeking help, or who have complained?”  This is the approach of most businesses, waiting then reacting to feedback they receive.

It’s an outdated idea and approach which fails to make your customer service part of a better user experience.  Today, customer service has become a spectator sport with so much of it playing out in the public digital world of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media venues.

Your ability to handle customer questions and complaints better and faster will have a material impact on your business.  The best way to build your business and improve your customer experience isn’t to get better at reactive service.  Instead embrace providing a more PROACTIVE customer service.

 

Providing Information Creates Proactive Customer Service

 

The best complaint is the one that never has to be delivered?  You and your team already know what your customers are likely to complain about.  Despite a few outliers, most of your complaints over time fall into a few specific types that happen over and over.

Even though you know what your customers struggle with, you need to put your energy into getting out in front of these issues.  Often what creates these complaints can be fixed, sometimes simply by providing more information.

 

Proactive Customer Service on My Sink

Proactive customer service is critical for the continued success of tour company.  Nearly every business has similar and recurring customer satisfaction issues.  You must more effectively communicate with your customers to remove any knowledge gaps.  Doing this may solve many problems before your customer has the opportunity to complain.

Recently while on vacation in Palm Springs I something caught my attention.  As I was getting dressed to go to dinner with my wife, I found an outstanding example of proactive customer service.  Right there in my hotel room.  On the bath vanity was this sign, helpfully placed by the Renaissance Hotel.

 

On the bath vanity was a sign which explained that their cloudy water was a result of the natural minerals in their water

What a brilliant and proactive way to inform their guests.  Because the water out of my bathroom faucet was cloudy.  At first I found this a little disconcerting.  However after reading the sign I felt informed and educated.  I learned that the water was a natural, regional occurrence and the water was pure and full of “minerals required for healthy growth and development.”

One, simple sign turned my faucet water from a shortcoming to an elixir.  I’m not sure how long the signs have been in place.  But I can imagine how many calls were being placed to the front desk before the signs appeared.

The Renaissance is a large hotel, if only 20 percent of guests inquired about the water, you’d have dozens of calls every day.  Because of their proactive approach to customer service, I’m sure they’ve reduced their calls to just a few, if any.  This is a great example that showcases an innovative and proactive message turning a negative into a positive.

 

Proactive Customer Service Matters

 

Wade Lombard owns a moving company in Texas called Square Cow Movers. It’s a good business, competitive and more customer oriented than most moving companies.

 

There's a moving company in Texas called Square Cow Movers, it’s a good business, better than most moving companies

Wade discovered that his customers were leaving a lot of negative feedback.  They were either complaining to him and his team members, or they were writing bad company reviews on Yelp.  This confused Wade, he felt that his company was a solid operation with a strong commitment to giving customers a great experience.

He decided that he needed to dig deeper into the data.  After compiling and studying the data he realized that there were almost zero complaints about moving.  The complaints were mostly about related issues like show up times, parking, packing, and so forth.

This puzzled Wade because he felt that Square Cow worked hard to give their customers a great proactive customer service experience.  After Square Cow customers paid their deposit and booked a moving date, they are sent a welcome kit explaining the moving process.  Wade’s team also sends a reminder email seven days in advance of the move, including more helpful tips for their customers.  Finally, the night before, a voicemail was sent to confirm the job details.

Even after doing all of this, his customers were complaining that they just DIDN’T KNOW what to expect. The company thought customers were adequately informed, but the customers thought they were under-informed.  Their feelings created complaints.

And then Wade realized something.  All of his customers are in the process of moving.  When people move, they become a crazy people because it’s stressful to move.  Noone handles moving without stress.

Wade recognized that even though the company was sending information, it wasn’t sinking in with their customers.  Do you know how Square Cow reacted?  They doubled everything, sending two welcome kits.  They send two “here’s what to expect” emails.  Two reminders in the last days.  And guess what happened? All the complaints faded away.

Wade decided that no customer has ever said, “Please stop informing me so much.”

 

Your Customer Can Never Have Too Much Information

 

The message is that there’s no such thing as giving your customer too much information.  It’s true if you run a moving company.  Or just have cloudy water.

If you want to invest more time and money into your customer service, I agree with you 110 percent.  But don’t neglect engaging in proactive customer service.  You need to give your customers an experience that they will want to talk about.  The results will transform your business.

 

How to Out Convenience Your Competition in Six Easy Steps P

How to Out Convenience Your Competition in Six Easy Steps P

Customer Service is About Expectations

 

I’ve spent my career working in several diverse industries.  From the oil fields, through new home sales, new home construction, real estate sales,  mortgages, and insurance.  The common thread that binds all of my experiences together is the human customer service experiences of each industry.

In every case, customers had the same desire, to have their concerns addressed.  If they had a problem, they wanted their problem fixed.

 

Customers compare you to the best service they have ever received, from anyone

Today, customers have even higher expectations.  Because they have experienced good service.  Now customers know what good service looks like and they expect it.  Your Customers are comparing you to the best service they have ever received, from anyone.

That’s why the customer service baseline has been set higher than ever.  You have to find a way to separate yourself from your competition.  Because your competition is also trying to out-service you.

I have discovered how you can beat your competition.  Your company has to be customer focused rather than operations focused.  This concept is being embraced by successful companies to disrupt their competition and even entire industries.

 

The Secret to Success is Convenience

 

The secret of providing great customer service is Convenience.  You have to find a way to make your customer’s life easier.  Or find a way to be easier to do business with.

Doing that you will add a new level to your customer experience.  Providing a better CX will draw customers away from your competition.  How can you do that?  I can teach you.

 

The secret of keeping your customer service is Convenience, finding a way to make their lives easier

I have discovered the Convenience Principles that successful companies use to set themselves apart from their competition. The principles include: reduce friction, self-service, technology, subscription, delivery, and access.

Let’s examine each one and look at examples of specific companies applying these principles to their business models.

 

Convenience Reduces Friction

 

Not since radios were installed in taxicabs has there been an industry-wide change that had such an impact on customer service.  Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft burst onto the scene and everything changed.

Today if you need a ride, you open your phone app.  You input your destination.  The app tells you how far away your driver is and how much the trip is going to cost.

 

Download the rideshare app, after that use your phone to summon a driver

When the car shows up, the driver even knows your name. When you’re delivered to your destination, you don’t reach into your pocket for money or a credit card.

Since you’re already in the system, payment is automatic.  The driver’s payment is deposited directly into his account by the company.  Rideshare companies changed the entire industry!

 

Self-Service is Convenient

 

Self-service sounds like it’s making your customers work more and harder.  However, that’s not actually how customers feel about using an available self-service option.  Depending on the situation your customers might like having a choice.

When I go to my local Panera Bread, you have choices.  You can go to the counter and have human contact with a friendly employee.  Or you can order and pay for your meal at a kiosk.

Panera has been streamlining its customer service process even further.  Now, after placing your order at a kiosk you are given a pager, then you simply take your seat at a table.

The tables have sensors built into them. When your order is ready, the server brings your food to you.  When I asked my local Panera manager why they made the change.  His answer was simple and direct, “Because it’s more convenient for our guests.”

 

Technology Creates Convenience

 

Today an obvious way for companies to create more convenience is by adopting new technology advances.  When you provide your customers with an app or website, you are giving them more options.  More ways for them to connect, get information or even make purchases.

 

By adopting technology, provide an app or website, giving options to connect

One of my favorite apps is the NoWait app.  NoWait allows restaurant customers to remotely put their name on a restaurant’s waiting list.  While waiting, you can actually watch your name move up the list.  This allows you to time your arrival so when you get to the restaurant, there is … No Wait.

 

Subscriptions Provide Convenience

 

Subscription services have gone from just being for magazines and newspapers.  Today they include all kinds of products and services.  Amazon, the leader in convenience, offers a subscription service for many consumable products.  Annual maintenance contracts are a form of a subscription model.

Instead of purchasing air conditioning filters or refrigerator water filters at your local hardware store.  You can now have them delivered automatically as you need them.  When they arrive it’s your reminder to change them.

Netflix revolutionized the video industry by offering a subscription that made it easier than driving back and forth to the video store.

 

Delivery is Convenient

 

I grew up when milk was one of the few products delivered to your home.  Delivered early in the morning and placed in the insulated box on your porch.  Today many companies are seeing the benefit of taking their product or service directly to the customer.

 

Delivery has gone beyond shipping a product to your customer’s home or office.  Even service-based businesses have begun to offer mobile options.  I frequently see car detailers or pet groomers parked at a neighbors’ home.  Bringing their service to the customer, making life easier.

 

Access Is About Convenience

 

Are you available where and when your customers need you?  If you’re not, you face some stiff competition.  Websites are available 24/7.

Walmarts are everywhere, it’s reported that 90 percent of U.S. residents live within 10 minutes of a Walmart.  Think about your location and hours of operation.  Are they designed to be convenient for your customers, or for you?

Could you disrupt your competition by offering nighttime or weekend hours?  My bank has extended daily and weekend hours.

 

Convenience is a Competitive Business Weapon

 

Convenience can be the most powerful competitive business weapon in your arsenal.  Hundreds of companies have embraced the Convenience Principles to create a more convenient customer experience.  Your choice is quite simple.  Your customers will pay more for convenience.

They’ll choose to do more business with people and companies that make their lives easier.  Select one or more of the Convenience Principles that you can work on.  Find ways to be more convenient for your customers and you’ll disrupt your competition and create fierce loyalty in your brand.

 

How to Make Your Business More Personable in 5 Easy Steps P

How to Make Your Business More Personable in 5 Easy Steps P

How Can You Make Your Business More Personable?

 

Merriam Webster defines personable as pleasant or amiable in person.  That’s a goal that all of us hope we achieve.  After all, everyone wants to be liked, and it’s especially important for your business to be liked.

Part of the reason that someone might like your business has to do with your values.  Two of the hottest values topics today are accessibility and sustainability.  Many of your visitors that you are hoping to turn into customers will have strong feelings about either or both of these topics.  My advice would be to not just support web accessibility for all and sustainable business practices.  You need to embrace both of these values issues and make them an integral part of your brand.

It isn’t easy to build brand loyalty.  You’re asking your visitors to purchase from somebody that they have had none or very little previous contact.  That’s a very tough credibility hill to climb.  However, brands that make an emotional connection with their visitors are twice as likely to turn them into and retain them as customers.

Turning visitors into customers is much easier said than done.  Not every brand has Coca-Cola’s storied brand history or Volkswagens’ iconic brand image to fall back on.  Your business won’t be able to pull from the emotional well of positive experiences that attends these mature and well-tenured brands.

 

Connecting with customers by being personable

With that said, new businesses around the globe successfully connect with customersby being personable. Rather than remain an unknown company to your audience, they show who they are using social media to reach out to their visitors.  By being relatable and personable and offering high-quality products, these companies are able to carve out a niche without being a household name.

There’s no equation for connection, but these five tips can make your brand more accessible to consumers.

 

You Need to Personify Your Brand

 

You have to first understand who you are, who your customers are and what your business niche is. Then, put everything you have into presenting yourself in that light.  Ensure that your brand is always presented in the most positive manner while staying true to your identity.

 

Do everything you can to ensure that your brand is always presented in the best light while staying true to your identity

It really doesn’t matter whether you sell socks or software.  There is a distinct market that will be attracted to your products or services.  While designing your website and publishing on social media, keep this market in mind and make sure that your brand image is in line with it.

 

Brand Consistency Builds Trust and Creates Loyalty

 

No matter what form your branding takes, the key to your business success is consistency in your branding.  Your visitors must feel comfortable before they will become your customers.  This calls for your being available and maintaining contact with your customers.  You can achieve this by using an engaging and informative email list, an informative and knowledge filled company blog and by judicious use of the right social media channels.

 

In every aspect of your branding consistency is key to targeting your audience

Your brand consistency builds trust and creates loyalty, turning your audience into your customers. Remember, your consistency is only good if you’re consistently hitting the right note.  If your strategy isn’t working, tweak, shape and refine your branding message.

 

You Need to Be Active on Social Media

 

Every good brand needs an active social media presence.  Even if you need to practice or if your budget allows you to hire a social media specialist.  It could be worth the investment.  Social media engagement is vital for your business, helping you gain a foothold in the market.

 

Every good brand needs an active social media presence

Thankfully, there are many social networking platforms that make it possible for you to meet your goals.  Building an engaging and informative social media strategy is essential to your success.  The difficult part is turning your hopes and desires into action.

To help you achieve your goals and optimize your social media presence, there are several platforms that offer the social media help that you are looking for.  Take a look at Hootsuite, is a good example.  Hootsuite has terrific analytics capabilities and also provides a wealth of educational content that will up your social media game and help you connect with followers.

 

Your Brand Needs to Exceed Expectations

 

When your terrific online visitor experience exceeds their expectations, you are creating the superior customer experience that your visitors have come to expect.  Great brands find ways to go the extra mile to make connections.  Look at how eyewear company Warby Parker, has built a customer experience that goes above and beyond by sending out five pairs of frames free for customers to try.

 

Eyewear company Warby Parker customer service goes above and beyond by sending out five pairs of frames for free to customers to try on

Because Warby Parker took their level of service past what anybody else was doing, on top of offering an appealing product.  They’ve quickly caught the attention of their visitors and become a huge success by turning them into customers.  This decision could only be made when a company looks to benefit their customers before they look to become profitable.

Ultimately, your efforts must be genuine to allow you to connect to your audience.  If you are able to create a strong connection by being personable it will result in greater sales numbers.  By putting forth a genuine effort to connect to customers and effectively tailoring your experience to what they want, you’ll find yourself with a loyal customer base that will take your business to new heights.

 

You Can Use Real-time Voice and Video Chat

 

Your business can benefit from using the live aspects of social media, particularly on Facebook and Instagram.  Through your website, you can also utilize real-time voice and video chat to provide customer support.  Make yourself and your website more accessible to your customers by embracing and including this option.  This is especially helpful when you are trying to resolve your customers’ problems.

 

You can facilitate real-time voice and video chat through your website to provide customer support

Embrace available technology to make your user experience better for your visitors.  Check out Tagove, who works with clients like Hyundai and Citibank.  Tagove provides video chat, co-browsing and video conferencing options to their customers.  Customers can be confident they’re working with an actual person who is attending to their needs.