The customer experience (CX) describes the personal experiences and interactions that a customer has with the human side of a company, its product or its brand.
These experiences can be real people interactions, for example when encountering in-store personnel or when calling customer support, or digital interactions between the customer and the company via social media, web, and a software product itself.
It may often seem as though the end-game is all about number of users or profits generated. However, true success lies in customer loyalty which is achieved when a product performs well and successfully engages its customers. An outstanding CX helps turn passive customers into engaged and loyal customers – improving the chance of them becoming advocates on your (product’s) behalf.
The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them— preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.
Here are some of examples of companies who got it right.
Make it personal
easyJet mined their databases for customer information and travel stories and created personal travel histories, many of them going back twenty years.
The travel histories were sent as entirely personalized emails and included dynamic text and images that told each customer’s story from their first flight with easyJet. EasyJet further personalized these emails with personal recommendations for future trips.
The effort easyJet put into this is impressive. The personalized emails had to be flexible enough to support customers who had only flown once, as well as customers who flew hundreds of times. Most impressively, easyJet didn’t make the stories only factual – they made each story meaningful.
The reaction to these personalized email stories was hundreds of customers posting about receiving their story, 78% positive sentiment, and “love” being the most commonly used word.
Simplicity and ease of use
Oscar is a New York area health insurance company that has removed the nightmarish complexity of health insurance policies. Oscar uses natural language technologies to “understand” the needs of potential customers, and has removed the jargon one usually encounters in this industry (deductibles, premiums). Demystifying health insurance is an accomplishment in its own right, and doing it in such an engaging way is a true joy.
Sticker Mule is an online vendor that prints customized stickers. One of the ways they enhance their CX is by including a Thank You card with each order, hand-signed by the Sticker Mule member who packed the order. An actual signature by a real person.
That same card also encourages the customer to share their sticker enthusiasm socially – and they’ll sometimes include product samples for further inspiration.
A small, yet very personal gesture, that is a joy in its humanity.
Surprise and delight
One of the most delightful ways to create an awesome CX is to go (somewhat overboard) by doing something so totally unexpected, so unconventional, so astounding – that it fosters feelings of loyalty and appreciation even by non-customers!
TD Bank is an outstanding example. On a summer Friday in 2014, nearly 30,000 customers across Canada personally received $20 bills, including online bankers who were notified that the amount was directly deposited in their account.
But several other customers received an even more magical surprise. TD Bank turned a few ATMs into Automated Thanking Machines. Rather than mundane banking, these ATMs distributed gifts. The lucky recipients found were astounded to find the gifts customized to their personal situations.
TD Bank called this their special customer thanking experience.
“A thank you can change someone’s day, so that’s why we have been surprising our customers across Canada, to say ‘TD Thanks You,”
—Tim Hockey, President and CEO, TD Canada Trust.
Watch the YouTube video and read the comments – they capture the sentiment that TD Bank put warm and fuzzies into banking.
Be ever gracious…
The customer experience can extend to even “final” interactions between a company and its users.
When unsubscribing from the Hubspot newsletter, a Hubspot employee admits that it’s hard to let you go. It’s a humorous and delightful way to say adieu – and the unexpected good-bye speech has generated new subscribers – because a delightful CX is always welcome.
A soupçon of inspiration, a cup of creativity, and whole lot of wanting to do our best for our customers will produce great customer experiences. And great customer experiences create enthusiastic advocates for your company, product and brand.