The “Era of the Customer” or, as we often say, the customer experience economy, contains unique challenges and pitfalls companies must learn to navigate in order to survive.
A recent report by NewVoiceMedia found that around $75B is lost as a result of poor customer service — a significant increase from the $62B reported in 2016. Their study attributes these losses to what they call “serial switchers”, customers who have no loyalty and find it easy to go wherever they are the most satisfied.
Today's companies face fickle customers who are more informed, have higher expectations, and are quick to look elsewhere if they feel the company is not keeping up with the speed of change andstanding out in commoditized markets.
So, how do you create loyalty when competitors offer the same products, customer experience, and customer service as you?
Foster emotional connections
Provide memorable experiences
Let's break down both of these concepts.
Fostering Emotional Connections
We now live in a world where interactions feel increasingly digitized; customer service reps are pushed aside in favor of chatbots, automatic response systems and sometimes simply a “frequently asked questions” page. Therefore, creating an emotional connection with customers can be one of the easiest ways to create brand loyalty and profitability.
Take this interaction one of our employees had with Zappos, a company known to provide excellent customer service. While shopping for slippers for a friend’s mother with Stage 4 cancer, the representative not only emphasized but empathized based on her own mother’s experience beating cancer.
This interaction reflects the companies’ understanding of the benefits that come from allowing their representatives to go off script with customers. This moment of empathy not only helped the customer on a personal level, but created a relationship with the brand that is not easily broken.
Creating Memorable Experiences
As an organization, you must understand that people expect consistently stellar customer service from companies. Not only will they compare services with your competitors, they'll compare them with their personal experiences as well. So, how can you make your experiences stand out?
One way is to become memorable to customers by applying the concept of the “peak-end” rule. This is a term created by psychologists Daniel Kahneman & Amos Tversky which demonstrated that people remember experiences by how they felt at their peaks and endings.
Equipped with the knowledge of this concept, companies can design customer journeys with deliberate positive peaks and ends, effectively "hacking" the memory the customer retains.
This concept can also be applied when reacting to a customer's negative experience. By extending the resolution long enough to generate a less painful memory, you are sure to be remembered in a positive light.
So, while “serial switchers” may inspire concern, their lack of loyalty to a brand means you can win them over.
By implementing emotional connections and uniquely memorable experiences, customers can find a reason to come back for more. Used correctly, these concepts can do more than just convert customers. They can ensure you keep them.