Why do some companies succeed while others flounder when they both have access to the same employee and customer pool, suppliers, and data? Why do coffee lovers make Starbucks a daily destination when 7/11 also has coffee? Why do some people swear by buying shoes at Zappos when there are cheaper places online? Why are people willing to spend large sums of money, travel long distances, only to stand in line at Disney, when they could go to an amusement park close to home?
According to Customer and Employee Experience (CEX) expert Jason Bradshaw, these companies provide an overall better experience. Every day. Each of these organizations turns a transaction into a human connection, providing a consistently better experience customers are willing to pay more for—and will go out of their way for.
In his new book, It’s All About CEX! Bradshaw breaks down quality experience into advice companies can use today. Bradshaw, who is currently the Chief Marketing and Customer Officer (CCMO) of Volkswagen in Australia, has been a thought leader in customer and employee experience for years. He wrote the book on it for VW, creating their internal manual, 100 Ways to Wow. And now he’s made that knowledge public with his latest book.
Why experience matters
Providing a good experience creates loyalty and differentiates you from the competition. It is the primary factor in helping a business grow. Companies like Starbucks, Zappos, and Disney don’t just have customers, they have fans. These fans return year after year because of the connection that was made and the experience provided.
These companies didn’t disrupt their markets but they are market leaders because they do things a little bit better. According to a 2017 Forrester Research report, improving a company’s customer experience by one point would result in millions of revenue: $873 million for an automaker, $244 million for a big-box retailer, and $124 million for a traditional bank.
The three traits of experience
Experience for employees and customers comes down to three things: success, effort, and human connection. If you do these three things consistently one percent better than anyone else, you will differentiate yourself.
Success means people are able to achieve what they set out to achieve. Has someone been able to log on to your website to make a purchase? Were all their questions answered when they called in?
Effort is how difficult or easy it is to do something. How many steps does it take to reach a human being? Do you have to talk to a computer first? Can you purchase something with one click like on Amazon or pay for something with your phone like Apple Pay? Or do you have to fill in multiple fields before you can get what you want?
Human connection is making interactions personal. Human connection means treating customers with dignity and respect. It’s the greeting Starbucks employees give coffee lovers when they come in the door. It’s how Zappos answers questions from customers on their Twitter account, providing suggestions not only for shoes but also for hotels and restaurants. It’s the smile you get from characters at Disney that makes you feel warm inside.
Start with employees first
Customer experience begins with employee experience. Study after study has shown more engaged and excited employees will directly improve the experience for customers. It’s no surprise companies that are voted great places to work are also the same places raved about by customers.
The three traits of success, effort, and human connection also apply to how organizations treat their employees. Employees need to feel successful at their job, that the work steps are clear, and they are recognized and respected as individuals by leadership, not identified as a department or position.
For the trait of effort, employees don’t want to be promoted without effort. But they do want realistic and attainable work goals. They also want their work processes to be simplified. When processes are automated, for example, employees can spend more time making a human connection.
In the end, it is the individual’s responsibility in the organization to create a meaningful customer experience. It takes commitment at every level of the organization. To have success you just need to look hard at the three traits and make a commitment to be one percent better all the time.