You might not think you are in the business of pleasure, but we all are, to one degree or another. If we don’t give our clients a great experience, they’re not likely to come back. That’s why we can learn so much from the entertainment industry, even though we might not be in it directly.
From the day a prospect calls you, emails you, or enters your shop, what do they see, hear, feel, taste, and smell? Is it pleasant?
- In a movie theater, the smell of popcorn is tempting as you take your comfortable seat and watch previews, engaging you while you wait for the start of the movie.
- In a spa, you are treated to snacks and drinks in a comfortable robe while you wait for your session.
- In a restaurant, you are served drinks, music, and appetizers while you enjoy the company of your friends and family.
There’s no reason your customer experience couldn’t be as enjoyable, even if you are a dentist, a doctor, a lawyer, or a professional that’s associated with a somewhat unpleasant service.
Your Company Experience in Surround Sound
The first step you can take to enhancing your prospects’ or clients’ experiences is to map out all of the interaction points they have with you. Your list could look like this:
- Phone call
- Office appointment
- Walk-in to store
- Employee greeting and interaction
- Sales at register
- Charge on credit card statement
- Thank you note
Make a chart like the one below for each touch point and fill in what you think your customer may experience with you at each point. It’s perfectly OK to have some that won’t apply; I don’t know of any technology that will get your email to smell!
|Walk-in to store||Merchandise||Loud rock music||Fabrics||Refreshments||Lavender|
|Employee greeting||Well-groomed employee wearing the sale item featured in your store||Pleasant, not pushy||Products||Drinks are offered|
|Phone call||Voice mail that is not initialized||Automated voice||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Office appointment||Lobby with awards and prospect kits rather than magazines||Calming standards piped in||Fabric of chairs||Refreshments||Cinnamon|
As you review your chart, are there any areas in which you could improve? The nice thing about charting it out is that it organizes it for you so that any weaknesses or strengths pop right out. The ones highlighted in yellow could be improved!
Where you have touch points with limited sensory impact such as email, phone, and billing, it is important to make the most of the senses you do have access to since they will be amplified.
If you feel like you cannot be impartial or simply don’t know what your customer experiences, you can hire a mystery shopper to provide an objective report of your customer experience.
A Movie with Great Reviews
Your client already has a movie going on in their mind about what it will be like to do business with you. Your job is to impress them with an experience they won’t forget, and you can do it in any situation, no matter what business you’re in.
- Dentists: One of the worst parts of going to the dentist is hearing the sound of the drill. Pass out iPods and headphones with a choice of music styles to drown out the unpleasantness.
- Restaurant owners: If your customers have to wait for a table, hire a mime, clown, or performer that can keep them occupied and make the wait time go fast.
- Plumbers: Leave behind a clean house and scented oils for the kitchens and bathrooms.
- Retail shop owners: Heat up a pinch of cinnamon in your microwave to have the whole store smelling like an apple pie or some scent that coordinates with your merchandise.
If your clients call you by phone rather than see you in person, you can script a pleasant greeting for your employees to memorize. For clients on hold, give them something memorable to listen to such as a poem, jokes, or unusual music. Even with email, you can create a great signature line that appeals to your clients, and of course, craft a message full of gratitude and compliments.
When you can wrap an excellent experience around the products and services you sell to customers, your word-of-mouth will spread, saving you time and money. Think of what will work in your industry, and give your ideas a try.