Halloween night 2007 was the perfect Halloween. I was old enough to go trick or treating without an adult, but young enough to not have my neighbors wonder why I was still asking for candy. My younger siblings were in bed being too little to join in on the candy collecting festivities of the evening. I planned to go out early and stay out late, and canvased the neighborhood to maximize my candy income.
The first few hours played out like a typical Halloween—lots of kids walking from door-to-door with their parents while others were getting scared from fog machines on the doorstep. My candy flow was unyielding. Everything was going as planned. Then, it started to get late. In my little middle-school brain, I figured being out late would be the best time to get even more candy. The smaller trick-or-treaters would be in bed—therefore leaving more candy for those of us that decided to stay out late. What actually happened, made me rethink my strategy.
The Experience Was Gone
First off, it got cold. My inflatable sumo costume wasn’t exactly warm and putting on a coat would jeopardize the integrity of my costume. Second, apparently people go to bed around 10-11pm. This was surprising to me because, hey it’s HALLOWEEN! You’re supposed to stay up late and watch movies and have Halloween parties. Clearly, I was eating more than candy that night because that wasn’t the case. Rather than parents opening the door to my knocks, laughing at my costume, and handing over a fistful of candy, I was greeted by either:
- A nearly empty bowl of candy left on the front porch
Suddenly, Halloween wasn’t so much fun. The experience was gone.
How Can You Make Your Customers’ Experiences Go As Planned?
The customer experience we provide can oftentimes be like a Halloween experience gone wrong. It can start off fun and engaging, but, as time goes on, it becomes stale and nothing more than rote processes.
Those of us who are truly committed to the fright night, craft a memorable experience that will keep kids coming back every year. There might be skeletons in the window, and zombies crawling out of graves in the yard. Those kids brave enough to overcome their fear are typically rewarded with the finer candies. The people behind that type of experience are rewarded with loyal trick-or-treaters/customers for the next few years.
The same thing goes with customers. Those companies that are truly committed to providing a great customer experience provide an experience that is engaging, creates a memory, and rewards you. This results in gaining customers and their loyalty for years to come. A good example of this type of experience I talked about in my CX Day post. While it is important, to understand and create the experience, you also want to know what type of company your customers are looking for.
Today’s Customers Are Canvasing Your Company
Today’s customers “canvas” your company before even engaging with you. (like I canvassed my neighborhood for the best houses to hit). They’ll look at online review sites such as Glassdoor, browse social media to see what people are saying, or ask friends their opinion and experience. Chances are, you won’t even know they’re doing it. In order to get customers to come to your “house”, you need to understand what they value. Do they place value in your social mission, prices, product, or something else? When you truly understand your customers, by listening to them, conducting surveys, hearing what they’re saying socially or online, reaching out directly, doing additional research, or simply being there for them, then you have a better chance of knowing what they value.
Don’t Leave Your Bowl on the Porch
On occasion, companies will start off with great CX. Great word of mouth, and splendid reviews are generated. Then something happens. Perhaps they get too big, forget to listen to their customers and act on their needs and wants, or their priority of being customer focused changes. Whatever it may be, if a conscious effort is not made to keep the customers in mind, CX begins to lose steam until it is nothing more than a bowl of candy left on the front porch for people passing by. If you are the type of company that has the customer experience that represents leaving a bowl of candy on the porch all night, don’t be that company! Open the door to your customers and welcome them. Listen to them, be there for them, make the changes necessary to meet their needs or the needs of the people canvasing your company.