Image by Moon Cheese Studio, Brand Tasmanian
What is customer experience anyway? Lets start there. Customer Experience is the sum of all the interactions a customer has with you – from googling your restaurant, café, pub, club or B&B, to talking to a friend about your service, to purchasing something from you, coming back to purchase again repeat and so forth and so forth.
Isn’t this just customer service? The short answer is no. Customer Service is only 1 interaction within the end-to end customer experience.
Why should we prioritise our customer experience?
>> Prioritise retention and repeat business to maximise your marketing budget
>> Boost your customer lifetime value (CLV)
>> Build brand loyalty and reputation as the best
>> Strive for competitive edge over and above pricing and product strategies
If you want to improve customer experience for your guests and customers start by identifying the moments that matter. What interactions are already really great and what interactions need a little improvement. What are the pain points for guests and customers that could turn into opportunities to create unique interactions your customers will never forget?
Guest and customer expectations are constantly changing, so it’s important to stay on top of trends in hospitality experiences and start by evaluating your current processes to see if there are any opportunities for improvement.
This is where the 5Es comes in. It’s can be as simple as using a wall and post it notes. Gather your team, a friend or ideally a customer and under each E start brainstorming. It may be easier to start with what you are doing really well and then move onto the ‘not so well.’
In the hospitality industry, the customer experience is everything! It’s a journey that starts with a guest’s or customers awareness of your brand and develops though every touchpoint. The middle E for engagement is what you are most likely doing really well. The opportunity may be in the other E’s. Try it out, it’s fun.
TIP: How do your potential customers and guests first hear about you and how can they access information?
TIP: What first impression do you want your potential customers and guests to have?
TIP: Will this be a short term or long term interaction or the chance to form a relationship?
TIP: What is or will be the last impression of your customers or guests?
TIP: Will they tell their family and friends about you and what kind of interactions will they have with you in the future?
Write down all the ways customers first hear about you. And write down all the ways you could be utilising. Think about what will trigger their interest. This could be diverse as a billboard, word of mouth, a google search, walking past your venue and a Facebook ad or promotion.
Think about what data you have available to support the marketing and promotional channels you are using to better understand on what is working really well and what is not working so well.
How will potential customers first hear about you and access information on how and what you provide?
Think about what the customer maybe thinking or feeling when they have an interaction with your brand at this stage of the customer experience. Think about is their anything we want to change or do better at this phase. How and why will you make this change?
Group all your marketing and promotional activity into different media types while you decide what needs more work and what will stay the same.
What impression are you creating for new or repeat customer when they walk through your door or first enter your website.
Think about all the senses, what sounds do they hear, the smells, the lights, the chair they will sit on? Do the colours of your website and all of your marketing represent the experience they feel when they first enter?
Consider you website data and understand what percentage of prospective customer leave within your website within the first 5, 10 or 20 seconds? Is this stage consistent for every customer? Consider what process, system or training you need for this step.
What is your customer feeling at this gate?
This is the stage you are really great at! Providing the product or service or the very reason why you own this business. This stage is generally the longest where the customer is experiencing your business first hand. Think about how this interaction usually plays out.
>> Do customers make quick and easy purchases?
> > Are you already starting to lay the foundations for a long relationship?
> > How long do they stay and will they come back and purchase more and when?
You may already be doing most of these, but this may be a good time to check in at this gate:
>> Do you recognise and reward your team for outstanding customer service?
> Does everybody have access to more training and development?
> Do you have a process for collecting and managing feedback from your team and customers?
> Do you have a process for turning first time customers into repeat customers?
> Are you using live chat for website enquiries?
> Are you monitoring trends with social listening tools or monitoring hashtags to see what has captured your customers attention?
> Do you regular promote customer appreciation days?
>> How do you incentivise or empower your team to go the extra mile?
Wrapping up! This is when the customer is evaluating the engagement. Meanwhile we can be thinking about what is the last impression?
>> Did the customer leave sad or were they excited?
>> Were they treated well after their experience of purchasing from you?
This section can be overlooked many times and this is a great opportunity for competitive edge and brand reputation ideas to be implemented! Think about check out, leaving, completion of service experiences, just to name a few – what can be improved on or even re-imagined!
>> Do you know what triggers a repeat purchase from your business?
>> Do your customers ever come back or tell their friends about you?
>> Can you track those referrals?
>> What kind of interaction will they have in the future with you? Same or different.
We are ready for when you need someone to lean on during complex times, supporting a clear pathway to profits and most importantly, helping you achieve your personal goals – for you and the people you care about the most.