The Secret Sauce to a Superior Customer Experience

 In Customer Engagement, Customer Loyalty & Retention, Customer Service & Satisfaction, Customers, Employee engagement, Leadership

I travel a lot. As a result, I see the best and worst of what companies actually do to their customers. A superior customer experience is rare. The poor examples greatly outnumber the good.

For example, just recently I was going from Minneapolis to NYC. The jet was late, and the attendants crabby. When I got to my hotel, the clerk seemed annoyed with me.  He acted more tired than I was. Chalk one up for mediocre service. Maybe you take the corporate jet and this isn’t a concern. But I am sure that you buy “stuff” with your money at a variety of places, and it doesn’t take long to experience service breakdowns, does it?

Horrible Service Reigns not a Superior Customer Experience

Quickly customers everywhere encounter the following:

  • discourteous rude employees
  • unresponsiveness zombie-like employees
  • customer service reps that can’t make a decision
  • excessive delays on the phone
  • untrained employees
  • lack of complaint resolution
  • dinosaur service policies that don’t help
  • confusing service options
  • websites that are unresponsive or marketing products that are unavailable
  • false promises

The list could go on, but let’s not get depressed. Sometimes I wonder what these organizations are thinking. Did they plan for their employees to do a poor job? Do they just not know what to do? Do they care? Are they stupid?!

A Superior Customer Experience Pays

The Secret Sauce to a Superior Customer ExperienceI receive the American Customer Satisfaction Indexes (ACSI) monthly reports. The average customer satisfaction rating is 77.0. This is a “C” grade at best. Consequently, I wouldn’t give the two companies mentioned above that I interacted with that high a rating. It’s too bad that so many companies have poor service or, at best, average service. Research shows us that the top service companies have higher sales growth and profits over time. Check out the PIMS Database, US Office of Consumer Affairs, Forrester, Bain and ACSI. Intuitively, we all know it is common sense. Furthermore, companies with awesome service have higher customer loyalty and financial success. Superior service pays.

Keys to the Secret Sauce for a Superior Customer Experience

Instead of working to improve, it seems like everyone keeps surveying customers for even more feedback. However,  little actually changes. I think companies need to stop spending millions of dollars on customer surveys for data that isn’t used. Instead, why not invest it in creating customer driven teams? It is obvious that few companies do this. Why not survey and measure less. Then, spend significantly more time training, coaching, recognizing, and supporting your employee teams? What if company managers did all of this like they were supervising Olympic athletes? In our technology driven society this next sentence may be a radical thought. Become people focused, not system focused. Imagine if we made employees the heroes of the business? I think they would serve customers in grand style, don’t you? This is the “secret sauce” to success that so many companies have discounted or forgotten.

In Summary

Finally, Jeff Bezos of Amazon says, “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” Walt Disney added, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” I just had to share these words of wisdom with you for your career success. I hope you or your organization consider the secret sauce to a superior customer experience. Your career and your company’s survival may depend on it.

The Secret Sauce to a Superior Customer ExperienceBy the way, do you want a game-plan to increase the customer experience of your team today? Download this complimentary guide: Creating Sustainable Customer Loyalty and Sales Growth.

And, do you want to enhance your leadership skills to drive customer-centered behaviors in employees? If so, check out my new book, Superstar Leadership: A 31-Day Plan to Motivate People, Communicate Positively and Get Everyone on Your Side.

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Rick Conlow
Rick Conlow is the CEO & Founder of Rick Conlow International, a consulting, training and coaching firm. He has helped over 200 companies such as Target, Costco, Andersen Windows, Spectrum, Northern Power, Meijer, Carpet King, International Truck, John Deere, Lowes Financial, and Canadian Linen improve customer loyalty, increase sales and add profits. Rick has been a general manager, vice president, training director, program director, and national sales trainer. He has authored 22 books, and regularly speaks at conferences and to audiences of all sizes.
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