Some potentially surprising news for start-ups:  Even though you may think you are selling a product, your customers are actually buying the whole ‘experience’.  For this reason alone, the way you organize and execute your customer experience strategy must be intentional, not accidental.

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In my last post I mentioned history and size as common impediments start-ups face.  Regardless of size or pedigree, take these easy and cost-effective steps to deliver intentional customer experiences:

  • Appreciate the customer – A simple thank you call after the sale says that even though the deal is finished the relationship is just beginning.  You probably said thank you immediately after contract signature… but another thank you emphasizes the point and is an opportunity to check in.
  • Anticipate problems and prepare the customer – No one wants to lead their sales pitch with “when it breaks”… but every customer knows the likelihood exists.  So as part of the post-sale discussion (or better yet as part of the sales process) explain how the company will support them after the deal closes.  Who to call, with what information, and when are good starters.
  • Build satisfaction check points into the experience (then track them) – I suggest a simple “survey” email.  Survey emails may seem impersonal but they are quick and the results can help establish a baseline and spot positive/negative trends so you can respond.  Another benefit is that if you see response rates drop you have a predictive indicator that the customer relationship is weaker than you want.
  • Track metrics that matter – New sales are definitely important, but understanding adoption levels, renewal rates, and customer churn are equally important.  For businesses on the brink of survival, how fast the bucket empties may be more important than how fast it fills.

Customers buy both product and experience.  They buy from, negotiate with, and seek support from people.  Later, based on the product and their memory of the experience, customers make decisions to buy more (or escape as fast as they can).  The pivot point is that several easy steps can be taken to create intentional customer experiences which are mutually beneficial and durable.

My next post will illustrate some ways to integrate social media into your customer experience strategy.  Subscribe here to be notified.

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Accidental Customer Experience (Part 1 of 2)
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