Lifting the experience (still) counts!

Last week I gave a speech for a few hundred franchise owners of the nation's leading home restoration brand.  I connected with the brand's guiding philosophy that the customer wants more than service, they want/need a great experience. 

You can imagine that having your home restored after a disaster can either be a terrible experience, a long drawn out experience or a wow experience that helps put your life back together.  If it is the latter, you tell your friends and maybe even your insurance company.  

I focused my remarks on how, through business design, the customer experience can be continually improved.  Here are a few of my pointers: 

1.  Segment the experience and improve each part. The customer doesn't have a single experience with your company — he or she has several of them that add up to an overall impression.  Here's the rule of thumb: the more experiences you identify and examine, the more you will be able to improve the overall impression.  Read a case study on Sharp Healthcare's Colonoscopy experience. 

3. Go Yelp yourself.  To understand the customer experience, you need to read what customers write about you when you aren't looking. Often, they will tell you on your customer surveys that everything is OK, then go online and say your service was awful. So look on Yelp, use Google search and follow your brand (and key search terms) on Twitter.  (Use Tweetdeck for multiple searches). 

4. When the customer is upset or angry, just say "I'm sorry." When you reply, "You shouldn't feel that way" or "I can relate, that happened to me," it is a disconnect and makes the customer feel like their feelings don't count.  Feelings are facts. Watch this video for more.