Delight and Wow Your Customers

Deliver an exceptoinal experience and turn customers into brand evangelists

If you want to gain a competitive advantage in your market space, consider improving your customers’ experience with your business. With the rising popularity of experiential marketing—the Starbucks effect—businesses can no longer set themselves apart by simply providing good customer service. Your customers expect that you’ll deliver good service. Isn’t that what they’re paying you for?

Customer experience is more than just a buzz-phrase created to describe the over-the-top sense of indulgence caffeine aficionados get when entering a Starbucks or the self satisfaction iPhone enthusiasts have when they’re downloading a favorite tune, searching the web, talking with their grandmother, and texting their BFF all at the same time. Customer experience is about how your customers identify with your brand, product, service and company throughout the customer lifecycle.

Case in point: The Starbucks effect

I love Starbucks. Starbucks makes a great cup of coffee—in my opinion and in the opinions of millions of others. Most loyal Starbucks addicts started out innocently enough—looking for a good cup of coffee and a nice place to sit and enjoy it. I got hooked in the early 1990’s when the pretty mermaid on the green awning wasn’t seen on every street corner, let alone in grocery stores, airports and hotel lobbies. Back then, there were plenty of other coffee houses to chose from that provided a similar product. So why have so many like me become Starbucks’ loyalists and why have most of those other chains and mom-and-pop stores fallen to the strike of the empire?
Starbucks created one of the most ingenious customer experience to ever hit retail. They reintroduced us to coffee, bringing us the Italian caffeinated world of Grandes, Ventes, and Macchiatos. They gave us hip, friendly baristas—highly-trained mixologists specializing in concocting signature brews infused with flavor. They encouraged and suggested personalization--double shots, no foam, soy, half-calf, syrup, whipped cream—and a host of other options to help us design our own special drink. So special in fact, that instead of calling us by name or number when our order is up, they simple call us by our order--“Grande, non-fat, no foam, with whip, pumpkin spice latte!” That’s me! Not only does that make us feel special--if not a little pretentious--it confirms they’ve met our exact order specifications before we take our very first sip.

When increased popularity of the now dominant chain resulted in longer lines, Starbucks even turned our wait-times into exceptional experiences, playing very hip current and retro music selections just loud enough to ease the wait and entice us to purchase the CD when we reached the register—brilliant! They designed the lines to follow a strategic path through irresistible merchandize of coffee accoutrements like the must have photo commuter mug, which allows us to show off our family and lifestyles while changing future orders to “personal Grande, non-fat, no foam, with whip, pumpkin spice latte!” All the while surrounding us with a warm and inviting décor of comfortable couches, chairs and tables where we can enjoy a newspaper, chat with friends and even pretend to work on our laptops with the widely available Wi-Fi. Makes the $4.45 we pay for the drink sound like a real bargain, doesn’t it?

Starbucks continues to reach us at every lifecycle phase from initial experience, to personalization, to gift cards with perks, to reduced pricing for second beverages purchased in a single day. I’ve even been given a card for a free beverage simply because I had to wait a few extra minutes while they rebooted their electronic cash registers—I would have waited anyway. They take customer surveys and reward customers for telling them how to provide better service. And, they listen and continually improve the experience. That’s the surprise, delight, knock-your-socks-off kind of stuff that customers remember, return for, and evangelize about. Even if you’re not a fan of Starbucks like I am, you can’t ignore their success.

How do you develop a customer experience that delivers the Starbucks effect:

Identify customer touch-points and related experiences

In the Starbucks example you can see clear evidence that focus was put on each touch-point: first time visit (introducing the brand), return visits (customizing and personalizing beverages), waiting (music and merchandizing), staying and inviting others (comfortable surroundings), even inconvenience (giving a free drink card).

Know your customers and understand their needs and wants

Starbucks is highly-proactive offering their customers things they never even knew they needed like commuter mugs, home brewing systems, a double shot. What do your customers need/want? Are you proactively offering new products and services to help your customers do more, grow their business or live better lives?

Solicit customer feedback and act on it

Survey your customers and find out what they like, dislike and wish you offered. Then make appropriate changes within your organization and survey again. Don’t rest on your laurels. If you want continued customer retention (product loyalty) and valuable, unsolicited customer referrals (brand evangelism), continue to seek ways to improve the experience.

How can ITonCommand help you improve your customers’ experience?

Reliable access to your corporate network

An ITonCommand hosted desktop allows you to access customer data, emails, and all your corporate files, data and applications from any Internet connection, allowing you to provide prompt and accurate service even when working remotely. Do you think our customers in the Gulf States are happy they can relocate their employees and provide remote access to their corporate network when the warning of hurricanes threatens to interrupt their businesses?

Mobility Solutions

ITonCommand integrates with your BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, or iPhone device. Real-time synchronization with your Outlook email, calendar, and contacts allows you to respond immediately to customer emails, stay connected to your office, remember important tasks, and make and keep your appointments.

Exchange Server

Shared contacts and calendars let you collaborate with your coworkers and staff and provide quicker responses to customers. Schedule meetings, proactive calls, and tasks associated with your customers and track in Outlook.

Hosted CRM

Implement hosted Microsoft CRM and manage your customer relationships throughout the customer lifecycle. Store and act on valuable customer data like buying trends, order status, service request details, even birthdays and anniversaries. Complete proactive engagements and schedule follow-ups with ease.

Is it time for your company to implement a customer experience management plan?  In todays's competitive business climate, if you don't wow your customers, your competitors will.  Don't leave anything to chance.  Call ITonCommand today to learn more how our hosted desktop solution can help you wow your customers.

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