There is pretty much only one way to truly stand out in this oversaturated, ever-changing market: a stellar customer experience. In this era where basically no sale is made without the confirmation by a fellow buyer (via a review) that the product or service is worth it, there has never been a time where creating a once in a lifetime experience for your customers has been more necessary.
Anyone can have an amazing, groundbreaking product or service idea. But just like the investing “sharks” on the show Shark Tank like to go into the nitty gritty to figure out what the business needs in order to truly thrive, the product idea in itself is not enough. There needs to be something attached to it that makes the customer want to go through that experience of acquiring or receiving the good or service again. There are three key elements that make a customer experience an amazing one include:
- Short wait times: whether a customer is buying a product and needs to make a line due to slow transactional software, waiting on a service (even though an appointment was made), or waiting on an online delivery, however short you can make that timeframe, the better. For example, Amazon revolutionized the mail and delivery experience offering a two-day shipping option included in their yearly Prime subscription.
- Personalized care: customers enjoy feeling special and like their business is truly valued. Whether in person or online, if your clients get the sense that you care about them, whether through recommendations catered to their style or loyalty-based discounts, customers are more likely to return for another serving of that kind of experience.
- A different experience: when creating a new business, it may be a little hard to think about how to present or package the idea in a way that hasn’t been seen before to create momentum with the prospective clientele. One clear example of this is the ice cream industry. Ice cream parlors have always had a basic display and way of serving ice cream, but some ice cream specialty shops or kiosks have focused (beyond flavor) on delivering a different experience:
- Dairy Queen mixes your ice cream and then flips it upside down as a quality check on the creaminess of the dessert.
- Cold Stone mixes in your ingredients by hand on a frozen granite stone and when they first burst into the scene they had their employees sing special songs for birthdays, tips, and more.
- A more recent trend that popped up include shops that freeze your ice cream on the spot with liquid nitrogen, which is supposed to create a slightly different texture, and it’s cool to watch.
- The latest ice cream preparation method to go viral was rolled ice cream, a trend that came from Thailand.
With this concept in mind, how can any business within any industry create a one-of-a-kind experience for the customer? The secret to the perfect journey relies on technology:
- An optimized website with short loading times starts the customer off on the right foot.
- A mobile app that offers an even better, more personalized experience to users.
- Having your inventory updated in real-time is a must, so that only in-stock products are shown.
- An easy check-out process with secure options and an easy way for customers to come back and shop with their information on file (and maybe a loyalty discount or free item).
- Item tracking every step of the way from the warehouse to the customer.
- Use of site cookies to show the customer preferred items upon next visit.
- Easy returns and exchanges with pre-paid shipping labels included in delivery.
- 24/7 customer support.
Those are the basics of what every business should be offering, and each of those items are made possible thanks to technology like CRM (customer relationship management) that helps you keep all your customers’ information on file and sorted for future reference, SRM (supply relationship management) for tracking, mobile and cloud optimization, intelligent virtual assistants for customer service needs, etc.
It’s up to you to figure out how to take it to the next level and offer something additional that no one else is. Once you figure out what that is, you can leverage a service like Lagash to help you custom-build a solution that helps you accomplish that out of the ordinary task to impress your customers beyond the greatness of the product.