How to Win Friends and Influence People with Customer Experience (Part 1 of 2)

Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation

Almost all brands appreciate their customers and most could be better at communicating the sentiment. However, it’s safe to say, the days of corporate issued holiday and birthday cards are over.  To show appreciation today organizations must listen to and understand their customers while providing incremental value.  Listening to the customer is fairly straight forward resource challenge.  Social channels, customer service centers and direct feedback in brick and mortar or email are all candidates for listening to and appreciating customers.

The delivery of incremental value is the modern realization of ‘honest and sincere’ appreciation.  Providing unexpected value, or delight, tells customers they are wanted and thought about even at times when they may not be actively engaged with the brand.

“When a study was made a few years ago on runaway [spouses], what do you think was discovered to be the main reason [spouses] ran away? It was “lack of appreciation.” – Dale Carnegie

Columbia Sportswear is a leader in its industry with loyal customers and brand enthusiasts. To support their customer’s interests and passions, Columbia developed an app for mobile devices entitled ‘What Knot to do (in the Greater Outdoors)’.  It provides step by step instruction on how to tie the types of knots Columbia customers are likely to encounter on their adventures.  It works when it’s not connected to the internet (important if you are out in the wilderness) and it is highly rated in the Apple App Store. But here’s the delightful truth: Columbia Sportswear doesn’t even sell rope. However, many of their outdoor adventuring customers do.

Most people are familiar with Uber, if not from personal experience, then from the yards of news stories written about the rapidly expanding car sharing service.  The last few summers in Boston ‘Uber Ice Cream Truck’ and ‘Uber Harbor Taxi’ made appearances.  Right now in Santa Monica, Uber Lunch Delivery is being offered.  Although the goal of these  ‘popup’ adjacent services may be to drive brand awareness, it’s done in a way that demonstrates honest and sincere understanding and appreciation, by creating additional value and delight for their user base.

Arouse in the Other Person an Eager Want

For sales and marketing professionals, this concept is completely familiar: Get our prospective customers to eagerly want our products and/or services and they will purchase them.  Today this is accomplished with demand generation marketing and it can happen before and after the product or service has been sold and is in the hands of the consumer.  Modern marketing, in service to a general strategy of improved customer experience doesn’t make a sale and cross the finish line.  Instead, it considers the sale as another stage in a lifetime relationship; an opportunity to deepen the relationship and the next ‘eager want.’

“Why talk about what we want? That is childish. Absurd. Of course, you are interested in what you want. You are eternally interested in it. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.” – Dale Carnegie

Apple does an amazing job of optimizing customer experience and generating demand within it’s loyal customers and it’s not as closely related to products as you might think.  They are truly exemplars for managing the full cycle of customer experience.  From the unveil of a product, through online research, customer service, product delivery, demos, the Genius Bar and One-to-One training, Apple has created an ‘eager want’ which is product agnostic – it is simply, what’s next?

Coming up…

In the next installment on applying the lessons from ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ to modern customer experience, we will cover ‘ways to make people like you.’

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