Get the Customer Experience Right, Beause Google Won’t Let You Forget

Here's the wrap-up of CMA's Customer Experience Conference in Toronto, April 11, 2013.

And what an impressive list of speakers and ideas from the folks at Porter Airlines, Ford, Microsoft, Miele Appliances, 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Samsung, and GO Transit to name a few. These are the leaders in the world of customer experience. They've got it down to science. And the information was bountiful. But a few key themes resounded.

Make it easy.

If an experience or transaction is complicated or laborious for a customer, there's a high likelihood you'll lose them before they come back for seconds. Mary Proc, VP Customer Service at GO Transit talked about the shift GO has undergone since five years ago when they were considered one of the worst for customer experience. Now, GO is one of the most comprehensive transit systems with extremely high customer satisfaction–a success which Mary attributes to a seamless customer experience. And consider Porter Airlines and their airport in the heart of Toronto. Everyone loves the convenience of traveling in and out of that hub, because it's easy. The result? Porter customers are happy, a full 22 per cent happier than the customers of any other airline.

Know your audience.

Gaining emotional insight on your customers is critical when designing a great customer experience. Who are they? What motivates them? A great example posited by Cheri Chevalier of Microsoft Canada is the Old Spice commercial that went viral. You know, the one with the man on the horse?

In this case, Old Spice was trying to sell a product for men. But the ad targets women because market research suggests women are the ones buying deodorant for their men. The outcome? Over 23 million hits on YouTube.

Get in front of your customers before they get in front of you.

As Simon Lowe of 1-800-GOT-Junk put it, you've got one shot to deliver that great customer experience. If you fail, there's a good chance your dissatisfied customer will take their complaints to Google. And we've all got our stories of Google wreaking havoc on a reputation. Short of delivering that perfect customer experience right away, Simon says following up with your customers immediately is the only way to curb potentially libelous complaints to Google. 1-800-GOT-JUNK surveys each and every one of their customers as soon as a transaction is completed. If there's any sign of dissatisfaction, each case is individually handled to make certain the customer walks away happy.

Start with happy employees.

Make sure you employees are happy, because the customers will follow. That's the motto of Gemma Giovinazzo, Ford Canada's Manager of National Consumer Experience. Later on, Simon Lowe polled the room to find out how many people thought their front-line staff understood the value of their service over that of their competitors. Only a few hands went up. The point is, employees who understand why their product is the best, are the same employees who go into the world and tell their friends. It's the best way to leverage word-of-mouth marketing.

Knowing what to include in a recap blog post like this one can be tricky! There's so much information. But until you join us for the Customer Experience Conference next year, may this serve as fodder and help to guide you in your quest to create a great customer experience.

Until next time –

Anna Duckworth

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Tags: Social Media, Customer Insights, Corporate Culture, Digital, Customer Service, Strategy