Creating an Effortless Customer Experience From the Inside Out

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David’s article originally published on the Salesforce.com blog


If you wanted to buy an iPad, where would you rather go; a big box electronic shop or the Apple store?

If you said Apple store, you’re not alone…but why?

Both places offer the exact same product for the exact same price. Interestingly, when I ask people this question in culture workshops they say things like:

“Because the Apple store is cooler.”

“The staff there are friendlier and really know their stuff.”

“They take their time and answer all my questions.”

In short, they’re not just describing the product, the store, the service, or support, but an overall superior experience (much like you describe your favorite restaurant not just in terms of the food, but the service and ambiance as well).

HBR describes the customer experience as “your customer’s end-to-end journey with you…the cumulative impact of multiple touchpoints over time, which result in a real relationship feeling, or lack of it.” Companies who consistently create amazing experiences for their customers are rewarded with consumer loyalty, higher profits, and market leadership positions….and they’re easy to spot! Disney, Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines, Rackspace, BMW, and Zappos are all brands who are clearly fanatical about the customer experience. But companies who provide amazing low-touch services through consumer apps are no different.

Do this…take out your phone now (I’ll wait…[insert ‘Girl from Ipanema’ hold music]). Now look through all the apps you have on your phone and pick out the ones you use the word “love” to describe. If you’re like most people, you probably named apps like Netflix, Uber, Evernote, and Spotify; simple apps that add tons of value through an effortless (sometimes magical) experience. While you may never speak to anyone in these organizations, the amazing experience you have with their service, and hence, the company, stills comes through.

Not surprisingly, most companies who nail customer experience, whether high-touch or virtual, are not only market leaders but are also consistently on the Fortune list of best places to work.  Why? It’s because they’ve discovered that the secret formula for nailing the customer experience works just as well in creating an awesome company culture. In fact, Netflix’s now 5-year old game-changing blueprint for an outstanding culture has received over nine million hits!

When companies create an amazing culture for their employees, profits increaseturnover decreases, they become lightning rods for top talent. And the best part: that awesome culture invariably trickles down to their customers in the form of the experience.

So how do you create an awesome company culture?

The first step is to consider how your culture meets the needs of your employees in a number of fundamental areas:

People want to improve. Are you providing them with frequent feedback on their work?
People want opportunities to grow. Are you providing them with opportunities to take on bigger and better challenges?
People want to succeed. Are you setting clear goals and objectives so they know what success looks like?
People want to learn. Are you providing insights into how the business runs and helping them acquire new skills.
People want to be part of something special. Are you making them feel a part of the corporate mission?

If you want to crush it in the market, start by looking inward and ask yourself if you’re creating a culture that delivers the Apple Store experience to your people.

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