Creating an excellent Customer Experience6 months ago Gunajit Haloi
“Welcome back to the … Hotel. Last time you were here, you had a green tea. Shall I send you the same, on the house?”
‘Last time’ I was here was for my company induction, and ‘this time’ I had arrived after a day-long meeting, only to fly out the next morning. I had checked in, entered my room, and got this call on the intercom. It was like a breath of fresh air. Throughout my stay, I was made to feel like an honored guest, whose preferences, likes and dislikes the host is aware of, and takes care of. This experience has remained with me as a prime example of excellence in customer experience. There are three elements to creating such an experience:
Knowing the customer: They learned about my preferences during the last stay, and kept a record of it
Creating the value proposition: A welcome environment, creating a warm, fuzzy feeling; complimentary tea
Communicating the value proposition: Someone checks if I have been here earlier, and if yes, use data from that visit to prepare all customer touch-points.
But that was last decade! Today, with the profusion of analytical tools, plethora of consumer data, artificial intelligence, marketing automation, machine learning… surely things have changed? Well, yes and no. We now have a lot more ways to learn about customers, both existing and prospective ones. Value propositions can be created and communicated much more dynamically. Above all, the three elements of customer experience are much more integrated. However, the core objective remains the same: to create an excellent, consistent and coherent customer experience that progressively adds value to the customer. And of course, you cannot automate the human touch!
Let us consider a hypothetical example:–
Greenhouse (hypothetical company)
Greenhouse is a company that delivers verified, locally sourced, organic fruits and vegetables to apartment complexes in the city. They have tie-ups with local farmers. They verify the organic certification at the source. The produce is labeled with Greenhouse logo alongside the organic certification authority logo. The produce is then transported to a storage facility, and then home delivered on order. As a further commitment to green living, no plastic is used. When required, the produce is wrapped in recycled paper. The order is delivered in a jute bag that is swapped on the next order. Now let us examine the Customer Experience of Greenhouse.
Mrs. Green regularly shops for healthy food products online. She is also interested in sustainable living and ecological issues. Recently, she had been checking out organic fruits sellers in the city. She gets a banner ad (google ad) that tells her about greenhouse. She follows the link, and her landing page at Greenhouse directly shows her the organic fruits options and prices.
She also checks out the organic vegetables section. Then she looks up the “About Us” section that tells her about Greenhouse, how they source their produce, how they check the organic certification. She reads about Ecocert, Bureau Veritas and other organizations that have certified the farms from where Greenhouse sources its products. The website also tells her about the farmers that Greenhouse partners with, and how they benefit in the process.
She decides to place an order for some bananas, guava and papaya, which are delivered the same evening; the banana and guava in recycled paper bags and the whole order in a jute bag. The jute bag is swapped in the next order, which she places soon afterwards. For ease of placing further orders, she also installs the Greenhouse app that is easily accessible on all the pages.
Ms. Blue hears about Greenhouse from Mrs. Green and decides to check it out. She googles “Greenhouse” and the first result is “Greenhouse Organic Fruits and Vegetables” (Paid search result). She lands onto the Greenhouse home page that shows a few examples of fruits as well as vegetables (best sellers). She browses through the options and compares the prices as well as other aspects with other online platforms that also sell organic produce. She finds the prices competitive, while the focus on organic certification that Greenhouse has, is something she finds unique. The commitment of putting the certifying authority logo is particularly reassuring. She also becomes a regular customer of Greenhouse.
Mr. Red lives in Purple City, the same apartment complex as Mrs. Green and Ms. Blue. He is into running and health food, but never looked into organic food. He gets a banner ad (google ad) that tells him about benefits of organic fruits and vegetables and tells about Greenhouse. When he follows the link, his landing page at Greenhouse tells more about organic fruits and vegetables, how Greenhouse is committed to verifying the organic credentials at source and the sustainable partnership with the farmers. He installs the Greenhouse app and places his first order.
With a critical mass having been reached in Purple City, Greenhouse organizes an Organic Food Mela. Existing customers in Purple City get email/ whatsapp/ SMS/ app notifications a week ahead of the Mela. Other residents get leaflets at door-step telling them about the Mela. Many existing customers also forward the messages to nearby friends. A prime focus of the Mela is to have a consistency between the online and offline experience of customers. A couple of organic farmers also attend the Mela and share their experience with the customers. The organizers explain the process of certification and quality controls to the customers. Many new customers take to Greenhouse, from Purple City as well as nearby complexes.
Greenhouse joins as a co-sponsor in a running event organized by Pink City Runners from a nearby housing complex, where they have a stall and provide organic bananas and papayas that the event organizers deploy along the run route. In this way, they become a part of life for Pink City, Purple City and many other apartment complexes in the city.
Thus we see how creating an excellent, consistent and coherent customer experience can be the key to success, regardless of the size and nature of a business. Analytical tools, customer data, automation, AI and digital marketing can be great enablers in this journey. However, these enablers will only bear fruit if there is the vision and commitment to create an excellent Customer Experience.
about Gunajit Haloi
“Gunajit is an analytics and marketing professional with experience primarily in the Indian telecom industry. He is passionate about evolving trends in Customer Experience, analyzing customer behavior and designing innovative solutions.“