When you're in a relationship, thoughtfulness indicates that love's involved. Assuming you love your customers, how does your customer experience express that love and thoughtfulness?
A Thoughtful Customer Experiences Seems Like a No-Brainer, No?
If you're paying attention to your business, you're aware that things are different. Customers are more knowledgeable, more demanding, less trusting and have higher expectations of their overall customer experience. For many decisions, they have more choices (including doing nothing). Being thoughtful is definitely a point of business differentiation - especially now in the world of ZMOT.
Remember that their expectations (and ours for that matter when we are in consumer mode) are shaped by:
- Immediate search results via Google (or other search engines)
- Instant access via mobile device
- Digital encounters across desktop, tablet, mobile, social or apps either sequentially or in parallel
- Shopping on Amazon - which learns and adapts to us based on search and purchase decisions
- Social interactions for advice, recommendations and perspective (e.g., Angie's List, Amazon reviews...)
Not to mention intense time starvation and information overload and that we really appreciate not having our time wasted, being proactively guided and educated and respect matters.
It's that awareness of and appreciation for the problems customers face, and the resulting thoughtful response which pave the way for a profitable, long-term relationship. It's integral to connecting with customers. (It's also a critical part of developing personas for your business. See Developing Personas for Content Marketing.)
So why are there still so many customer experiences that seem to thumb their noses at thoughtfulness and customers?
Examples of Customer Experiences That Could Be More Thoughtful
Here are a few examples that come to mind of experiences that lack thoughtfulness. I bet you have some, too.
- My mom had cataract surgery. She can't see without glasses; her new glasses prescription won't be available until about a month after surgery. She was sent home after the surgery with her existing pair of glasses which no longer function as they are. Imagine if this medical practitioner offered a service through a local resource for temporary glasses while surgery took place or even after with home delivery? That's the kind of pro-active thinking that Warby Parker represents. It's also more likely to generate repeat business and word-of-mouth endorsements. (See How Digital-Physical Mashups Affect Inbound Marketing and Retail.)
- Have you gone through any kind of estate planning? It's confusing, dry, expensive and filled with forms and documents. The traditional approach is to offer perspective in language that no regular person can understand. Not to mention that every question asked seems to carry a hefty price tag! Imagine instead educating through blog content and webinars and offering a checklist or roadmap for the process with set checkpoints. That's the way to build a long-term relationship that draws in extended members of a family and friends.
- Mattress buying is a pretty murky proposition. It's time-consuming and awkward. Enter Casper to turn the experience upside down and make it fun, with home delivery of your mattress! Your mattress even comes with a booklet on how to have a good night's sleep. (And, in NYC your package arrives via special delivery bicycle.)
So, how does that affect your business?
What strikes me about these examples is that they are mostly from businesses that assume they have no competition and that customers have no other options. They are complacent, comfortable and have little incentive to do things differently.
Change, though, is afoot even for doctors, lawyers, accountants, banks and more. We are rapidly entering into a world where sky-rocketing insurance premiums are forcing consumers to proactively shop medical providers and procedures. Investing can be done intuitively with the likes of Betterment. Customers yearn for thoughtfulness and love; why not ensure that your business does so? If you're too close to see how, ask them...
How does your customer experience stack up? How do you express love and thoughtfulness? How well do you know your customers and how well can you anticipate how to improve their experience with you?