If you’ve ever put your trust into a business by making a purchase from it, you likely know what it feels like to go through a poor customer service experience. In just the blink of an eye, you go from excited and hopeful, to frustrated and angry. With experiences like these being so commonplace today, there’s a prime opportunity for businesses to create a “wow” experience as their differentiator.
The best leaders of today recognize the importance of excellent customer experience. They do their due diligence when designing great experiences and taking the steps needed for those experiences to happen. At my company, we add meaning to our customer experience by maintaining our Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is an active, fluid way of measuring customer loyalty.
The Dollar Shave Club is a prime example of a company with an above-average NPS score that contributed greatly to its value. With a consistent commitment to enhancing their core customer experience, it recently sold to Unilever for $1 billion. Here are three ways you can add value to your own customer experience and start building an above-average NPS of your own:
Empower Employees Not to Take a Customer’s Emotions Personally
Most businesses will provide tools and education to help employees boost their knowledge and emotional intelligence, but they often leave out a key skillset that sets the stage for the best customer experience: personal control (AKA the control quotient). This is the ability to stay calm when things become challenging — not just once — but when handling every challenge as they come.
The key to increasing your employee’s CQ is creating the right environment. The Effortless Experience, a method for building stronger customer loyalty, defines the three necessities an employee needs to up their CQ. They include: the need to feel trusted to make the right choices, the need to feel connected to the company’s bigger mission, and a strong peer network for support. Businesses that create support and education around these three factors create a positive and supportive environment where customer experience can thrive.
Don’t Aim for Customer Satisfaction. Aim for Customer Loyalty.
If you want an NPS that tells you your customers feel great about the experience they’re having with your business, you have to go beyond simply meeting their needs. After all, customer satisfaction is only one part of the customer experience. Without focusing on how the customer feels throughout their entire experience with your business, customer loyalty is much harder to achieve.
Reduce the amount of effort required on your customer’s end to get the experience they expect. Customer experience requires constant proactive thinking to identify and prevent the next issue before it happens. This can be attained through client feedback, but a business must also continuously discover what its customers’ pain points and goals are, and apply this knowledge. Another way businesses can ensure a proactive experience is by putting together tutorials, guides and other information that answer questions your customer is likely to ask. This way, solutions are easy to find. Again, it’s about constantly getting to know and understand your customer, and nuture that relationship continuously.
Take Care of Your Employees
Happy employees take care of customers. As Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, once said: “If you want the people in the stores to take care of customers, you have to make sure you’re taking care of the people in the stores.”
If you truly want to serve your customers and offer them the best solutions, you must adopt an employee-centric management strategy. When employees aren’t treated well, they’re too frustrated to focus their time and energy on providing a good customer experience. Richard Branson said it best: “If the person who works at your company is not appreciated, they are not going to do things with a smile.”
Employees also give customers clues into what your company really stands for. If your customers see employees who are mistreated and undervalued, it speaks volumes far beyond what any marketing campaign or product solution could repair.
In order to achieve the highest NPS score, businesses need to prioritize employees first, customers second and shareholders third. When you follow this model, all three stakeholders get exactly what they were looking for out of your brand.
Simon Casuto is the co-founder and president of ELM Learning, an interactive creative agency focused on designing education and corporate learning by leveraging ultra-modern design principles combined with science-back neurolearning principles to deliver smart, beautiful and engaging experiences that also deliver results. He is also a partner at Safire Partners, an executive search firm working with emerging growth companies.