Customer Experience and Your Brand

Have you ever been to a store and received such bad service that you vowed never to return? Or eaten at a restaurant where the waiter improved your dining experience just by their attitude? People can make all the difference in our customer satisfaction – for better or worse.

How Customer Experience Affects Your Brand

A couple of weeks ago I was out and about during a busy day of meetings, and in between appointments a colleague and I decided to stop at Starbucks. It felt like a good day to have some breakfast, so we both ordered the egg and sausage sandwich. About five minutes later, a curt Starbucks barista threw two greasy looking white bags towards us and went back to the counter without a word or any eye contact. The experience of having our food sloppily tossed onto the counter was so obviously lacking of any respect that suddenly, neither of us really felt like eating.

Later that same day, I stopped at Nugget Markets to buy some bread. I went to the bakery counter and found two employees working there. One was clearly a newer employee in the process of being trained by the manager. I settled in expecting a long wait while the manager finished her explanation to the younger employee. Instead, the moment I walked up, the manager cut short what she was saying and directed the employee to help me. This made it clear that Nugget employees are trained to offer superlative customer service—in this instance, literally putting service before any other aspect of their training. As you can imagine, I left Nugget feeling much differently from how I had left Starbucks, all thanks to a very different kind of employee interaction.

These were just two experiences I had while going about my day. Both companies are solid brands and do a very good job of strategically branding their products and services. I know they pay attention to the perception they are forming. However, the direct interaction I experienced was vastly different between the two. Customer experience will make or break how a customer feels about a Brand, and should be a top priority for anyone who is building their Brand.

Brands are defined by the customer experience they deliver at every touchpoint. — Jay Baer

This is true now more than ever.

Unless you’re a solo-preneur, your team determines the kind of interaction your customers experience. Make it a priority to design and train for it, so you can count on a result like the one I had at Nugget Markets, where I felt respected and welcomed.

5 ways to improve how customers experience your Brand

  1. Articulate how each of your company’s values translate into the customer experience. If “excellence” is one of your company’s values, discuss with your team what that looks like as far as the customer interaction. One of JetBlue’s values is humanity. See how they translate humanity into their customer experience.
  2. Map out the customer’s journey. List the ways customers come into contact with each of your brand touchpoints. Take time to improve the human, person to person experience, as well as the user experience, when they connect with your brand via technology.
  3. Encourage a culture of dialogue. Train your frontline to ask questions. If you want your customers to tell you something, you’ve got to ask them questions. Begin a practice of listening to your customers. They will tell you what they love and what they don’t.
  4. Take the dialogue beyond the product or service you’re providing. Find out what else is important to them. Customers will rally around a topic that interests them. Step into their world. Walk in their shoes.
  5. Look for negative feedback. Use it to turn unhappy customers into brand advocates. Fewer things are more powerful than responding with empathy and care when things go wrong.

    People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. — Maya Angelou

If your customers feel like their satisfaction is your priority, your Brand will be a success.
Do you have any tips on how to better customer experience? Share them with us!

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