Q. What is the greatest predictor of business success?
A. Customer Experience – how your customers perceive their interactions with your business.
It’s a bold claim, yet one that is supported by decades of empirical evidence gleaned from innumerable research studies by the worlds leading academic institutions and management consultancies.
In their dealings with your organisation, customers experience an array of individual touchpoints, every one of which contains the potential to enhance or diminish their future relationship with your business.
A touchpoint, or ‘moment of truth’ as they are sometimes referred to, is ‘any time a customer comes into contact with any PART of your business, and uses that touchpoint to judge the quality of your business as a WHOLE’.
As such, every single step, every single touchpoint, along the customer journey matters. A customer journey that is one hundred percent experiential. A journey that is a combination of everything your customer sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, and how they emotionally connect and respond to your product and/or service offerings.
Visual (sight): So what does your business look like? How do you present your business to the world? What do your premises, people, products, website, brochures and vehicles look like? What font size and style have you chosen for letters, emails, signage, packaging and business cards? What colours do you use?
Auditory (sound): What words do they hear when you answer the telephone? What are customers listening to whilst they are put on hold? How does your staff greet customers? What background music, if any, do you have playing? How often do your customers hear from you? What’s the word on the street about your business – what are your customers saying about you and your business?
Olfactory (smell): What does your business smell like – clean and fresh; or stale and musty? What do your people, your premises, and your products smell like? Do you have clearly understood staff hygiene policies in place? Do you have a chosen fragrance for your business? What’s the best smell for your business?
Gustatory (taste): What does your business taste like? Do you provide good quality espresso coffee for your staff and customers, or are you still insulting them and their taste buds by serving up the cheap instant variety? Do you spend considerable time and thought getting the food right for all staff and customer events?
Somatosensory (touch): What is the best temperature of your premises to maximise comfort for customers and productivity for staff? Are all the facilities, amenities, and utensils that you provide your customers easy to use and operate and are in excellent working condition? Are your doors easy to open? Do your customer pens work? Do you provide high quality hand towels and toilet paper for customers and staff?
Emotional (feel): What does your business feel like? How do your customers emotionally ‘feel’ about doing business with you? Do they love doing business with you? What do you do to help make them feel special? Do they share their experience with others?
On any given day, there are literally hundreds, sometimes thousands, of customer touchpoints happening at your place of business. Every one of those ‘moments-of-truth’ has the capacity to either make or break the customer connection.
The key to business success is understanding that every single one of them matters.
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Professional Speaker and Business Coach Graham Harvey is the bestselling author of Seducing the Vigilante Customer: 101 winning strategies to attract and retain happy customers and healthy profits. He is recognised as one of Australasia’s foremost thought leaders on Service Design, Customer Experience and Relationship Marketing.
Graham Harvey B.Com FAIM CSP
Service EQ Telephone: (Aust) 0403 262 988
PO Box 2188 Telephone: (Intl) 61 403 262 988
Bunbury Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Western Australia 6231 Website: www.grahamharvey.com