The importance of developing a superior customer experience is a concept that periodically enjoys more or less attention. It is understandable that during challenging economic times when competition for faltering or decreasing demand increases, businesses realize the importance of offering and delivering more value to capture that demand. However, remarkable service and impressive customer experience should be a core value of any organization for it to be successful regardless of the economic climate.
Various businesses have certainly realized this point and have tried to make improvements in this area. We have seen a number of best practices in the case studies that I have described in this blog. However, most retailers struggle to develop a differentiating customer experience, forgetting the key element: the customer.
It is certainly difficult to truly understand what a customer needs and what experience would be remarkable to him or her. Moreover, every store has multiple customers and each of them might have different aspirations, needs and wants. However, when crafting a remarkable experience, executives should strive to develop the ability to walk in their typical customer's shoes, as I have showed in my post LEGO's Experience Wheel Reveals the 'Wow" Factor. Additionally, they should have a process in place that allows managers and staff to modify and tailor that experience to signals and information that they acquire from their interaction with the customer.
Surfing the web today I found a great example of just that. Surprisingly, it was not provided by a customer-centric multinational retailer, but by the Irish rock band, U2. See the video below.
The video refers to the end of a U2 concert in Nashville. Just before leaving the stage at the end of what anybody present would consider a great performance, U2's lead singer Bono spots a man holding a sign that, according to later reports, reads: "Blind guitar player, bring me up".
The Irish band has already finished their perfectly crafted performance and delivered a spectacular experience to all their fans. However, Bono realizes the dream of one of his supporters and acts on this insight to deliver a unique and truly unforgettable experience to that supporter.
All businesses, and retailers in particular, should realize that developing a standard customer experience, establishing every single small detail of that process, does not necessarily ensure that it will be perceived as remarkable or special. Executive should develop general guidelines that describe a typical customer experience. However, they should then go a step forward, training and empowering their staff to notice any insight regarding the customer and to act on those insights essentially tailoring the experience to that customer's expectations, as U2's Bono did.