What could possibly cap a great customer experience? There are multiple levels of involvement in a memorable customer experience. I would say that the top is that elusive “cherry on the top” moment. In my mind, getting to the highest level requires one last step that many business people forget: following up with your customers to let them know that an issue or suggestion they made has been acknowledged.
Often, it's a simple "Thank you for your feedback". And the "cherry" is telling them what you did with the feedback.
Think of yourself in your local favourite restaurant. You have a great relationship with the manager and feel comfortable talking about the restaurant. After your third or fourth plate of spaghetti which you feel has too much sauce on, you decide to mention it to the manager.
To simplify let's break it into three levels.
Level I - Asking for Feedback: At the very least, the manager is approachable and open to comments. Better, he is sensitive to feedback, sees that you may have be having an issue, comes over and asks you about it. Level II - Processes Feedback: Manager takes your feedback in an open and honest way (certainly not defensively) and says that he pass it on to the head chef. Level III - Providing the “Cherry on the top”: the next time you enter the restaurant the manager spots you, rushes over to greet you and says, “Thank you for your feedback about the spaghetti sauce - the Chef and I discussed it, and he agrees. I am confident that if you order the spaghetti tonight you will be pleasantly surprised!”
Most successful companies in today's world certainly are engaging in level I and level II customer service. There is often a mechanism in place to capture feedback. Good companies use comment in an open and honest way to try to fix it.
After all, a steady stream of customer comments is like having top-quality consulting, for free. And the best companies get back to people to ensure them that their comment has been taken on board and was useful. It's difficult for many organisations to do this, even if they have the corporate willpower.
There are some good ways to do this. Using CustomerGauge, for example, companies can:
- solicit feedback from their customers, automating the data collection and surveying process
- use the “fire fighting “ facilities , and identify issues to be addressed
- once the issue is fixed, they can go back and send a short e-mail thanking those that raised the issue and explaining that they were part of the solution, a.k.a. “the cherry on top”.
Whether or not you do it manually, or make it highly automated, thanking customers must be one of the most underated, yet most effective customer retention methods available. And apart from anything else, it's just good manners!