Money is spent on experiences. More specifically, money is spent on experiences that consumers feel meet or exceed their expectations.
Companies have reason to take a close look at their services at a time when both service and product design need to be exceptional in order to reach a point of success. But it doesn’t stop there. Companies need to be paying attention to their customers on a consistent basis.
Patricia O’Connell and Thomas A. Stewart, authors of service design book Woo, Wow, and Win, write about the importance of designing a customer experience that meets customers’ expectations across every customer touchpoint.
O’Connell says, “Service design is what connects strategy, your value proposition, and your ability to translate that to your customers.”
She adds that with the massive amounts of customer data out there, “big data in and of itself is not useful – it’s about the right data.”
3 Customer Experience Examples
Nordstrom: Delivering Consistent Experiences and Monitoring Customer Feedback
One of the companies O’Connell and Stewart interviewed is speciality retailer Nordstrom, which delivers on customers’ expectations at every point of interaction — both online and in-store.
“You go into their stores and they tend to be nicely lit and well-designed,” says O’Connell. “Salespeople are soliciting without being obsequious or without being in your face — because part of Nordstrom’s whole ethos is to make a present, enjoyable experience for the customers.”
That experience is felt both on Nordstrom’s website and online channels, in addition to the experience of shopping at the store. The interactions are different, O’Connell says, but the experience for the customer feels similar across the company’s mediums.
“I still feel like I’m shopping at Nordstrom whether I’m shopping online or whether I’m shopping at the store,” O’Connell says. “And that’s a really key aspect of service design: this consistency of different channels.”
Nordstrom team members go above and beyond to perform tasks that are not in their job description. The company also closely monitors customer feedback.
For example, Kenneth J. Worzel, executive vice president of strategy and development at Nordstrom, told the authors about a woman who had tweeted about a blazer problem that came up as she made a return trip to her home in Seattle.
The tweet: “Good news is I bought this great blazer in Portland. Bad news is there is a sensor left in the jacket.”
The social media team at Nordstrom found the tweet, contacted the customer, and actually sent a person to her office to remove the sensor tag.
Using Data to Understand Customers Better
When it comes analyzing the right data, O’Connell says we’ve reached a point where customers are more comfortable sharing information about themselves to companies like Nordstrom, if only because they understand the benefits of revealing details about what brands they like and why.
“Am I someone that only shops when things are on sale, am I a price-sensitive customer? They can better target me. If they see that I’ve gone through a shoe binge, they can say something like: she’s been buying shoes. Let’s see if she’s also interested in handbags.”
Dunkin’ Donuts: Understanding Exactly What Customers Want
If there’s a brand that understands exactly what its customers want, it’s Dunkin’ Donuts.
“Think about Dunkin’s slogan, ‘America runs on Dunkin’,’” O’Connell says. “Dunkin’ is about getting people in and out fast. It’s not for the customer who wants to sit and bring their laptop and hang out for an hour and a half. As they said to us, ‘Our customers have jobs. They have places to go.’”
In an interview with Stewart and O’Connell, John Costello, former president of global marketing and innovation at Dunkin’ Brands, said, “For example, we built a state-of-the-art mobile app, but the features are driven more by what customers want as opposed to technology.”
To focus on the customer, Dunkin’ built their app with a store locator, which Costello says is an important feature because the company’s customers are always “on the run.”
“They want to know where the closest DD is,” Costello says. “We were also one of the first restaurant brands to offer our mobile app in both English and Spanish.”
Suprex Tutors Houston: It’s Not About the Sale
Tutoring Startup Company, Suprex Tutors Houston, maintains an excellent customer experience.
Owner and academic director of the tutoring company, AJ Saleem, says, “What I have found is that customer satisfaction is more important than making individual profits on every sale. So, if a customer has a complaint, we often offer them a credit and if necessary a full refund.”
The tutors help students in all grade levels achieve their goals in education. Suprex is a leader in academic support, and they pride themselves on personal service and relationship building.
(Photo credit: Dunkin’ Donuts Instagram)