3 Things I Learned About the Customer Experience During my Hike in the Albuquerque White Mesas

My family and I vacationed out west last week. We went to Albuquerque, spent 3 days there, then went on to Phoenix.

We took a tram up to the top of Mount Sandia, we toured Sedona, went off road in a Jeep to hike the White Mesas; we visited a museum, spent a full day at the Grand Canyon, and we had some fantastic food. My husband chose all of the restaurants, insisting only on local cuisine. He even made sure to select vegetarian-friendly spots for me.

Out of all of our experiences out west, my single favorite experience was the White Mesa Jeep Tour with New Mexico Jeep Tours. It was my ideal standout experience because of the company, New Mexico Jeep Tours, gave my family and me a phenomenal customer experience.

If you’ve been to one of my keynotes or training sessions, you’ve heard me talk about the 3 Elements of the Best Possible Customer Experience. The 3 Elements create what I call “The Way of Harmony.” Continue reading “3 Things I Learned About the Customer Experience During my Hike in the Albuquerque White Mesas”

Keeping the Customer Experience Fresh Through Responsiveness (How Hello Fresh delighted me by keeping me apprised)

 

Mature businesswoman smiling

On Sunday I had to reach out to my grocery delivery service for help. I sent an email and almost immediately I received an automatic reply. The reply was simple, just letting me know that my email had been received.

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Hi there,

Thanks so much for getting in touch! 

We have received your email and will respond shortly.

While you wait, take a look at our FAQ’s at http://www.hellofresh.com/faq/, in case your answer lies there.

Lastly, if you need to make meal choice, update your payment details, cancel or pause your account, please login https://www.hellofresh.com/customer/account/login/.

Talk to you soon,

The Friendly Freshers

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I appreciate getting an immediate response to my query, even when I know this is an automated computer generated response. It lets me know my email successfully reached the company. It puts me at ease.

When I’ve contacted this company over email in the past, the response from a service rep is pretty fast, usually within 1-2 hours. But nearly 24 hours had passed and I hadn’t heard back from the company. It was Martin Luther King Day and I thought perhaps they were short-staffed with people taking the day off. My kids were out of school and my husband and I had also taken the day off. But, to my delight, exactly 24 hours after my initial email, I got a second automated email from the company.

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Hello, Myra,

We’re sorry we haven’t gotten back to you yet. We have received your message and will respond to you very shortly. Thank you for bearing with us.

If you have anything else to add, please just reply here http://hellofreshusa.zendesk.com/hc/requests/854899 and we’ll get back to you shortly.

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I loved this second email, so much so, that I took time out of my holiday weekend to sit down and talk to you about it.

Hello Fresh normally replies to emails within 1-2 hours. But this time they didn’t, but they proactively updated me. This little update, timed perfectly at 24 hours after my initial communication, assured me that my email did not get lost and that they were on top of things. This update kept me from losing confidence in the company and it took away any need for me to reach out again by email or telephone. It protected me from becoming upset or even worse; it protected me from defecting.

Keeping customers apprised via automated emails is brilliant. It puts customers at ease, helps customers feel confident that the company is working on the problem, and it keeps customers from feeling they need to reach out to the company a second time.

The customer experience needs to reduce customer effort, keep customers apprised and it’s a treat when the experience can delight customers. Hello Fresh did each of these things by simply having an automated response built in to launch 24 hours after my initial email.

When you don’t immediately acknowledge a customer a customer’s inquiry, they may wonder if their communication even reached you and this may prompt follow-up communication that cost you time and money. Failing to acknowledge customer inquiries and not providing updates can result in losing customer confidence and trust.

What You Can Do

Review one aspect of your customer experience and explore how you can reduce customer effort and keep customers apprised. If you’re feeling really creative, consider how you might add surprise or delight to this aspect of the customer experience.

The Bottom Line

 

The outcome of an automated customer apprising strategy is customers who are updated and less likely to have to follow up to check in, and your organization will build customer confidence and trust through proactive communication.

Myra Golden is a customer experience keynote speaker and trainer who travels North America looking for great stories to share, and new ways to help her clients deliver the best possible customer experience.

Details Matter In the Customer Experience

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I don’t like shopping. Yes, I’m a woman and I don’t like shopping.

I should clarify. I don’t like getting out in malls and retail shops, but I do love buying new things. Hence, I do a lot of my shopping online.

I bought the dress, shoes, belt and lipstick for next big keynote online. I get my groceries delivered to my front door. My MacBook was an online purchase. I order a lot of things online.

And I notice things. Like, was the shipment delivered on time? Did the merchant send shipment confirmation? Was my item damaged in shipment? Was shipment fast? Is customer service easy to reach? How helpful is the online FAQ section?

Last week in my grocery order, my can of whole tomatoes was smashed and split wide open, making the tomatoes unusable. These little details, on time or not on time, confirmation sent or not, or damaged goods all makeup the customer experience. Every detail matters.

So, when I got a special delivery on my porch from Williams-Sonoma today, I was surprised and delighted to see how carefully my order was wrapped.

I ordered Pumpkin Bread mix and Pecan Pumpkin Butter. Yummy! I bought these special items for a fall dinner I’m hosting in my home in a few weeks. I opened the box to find my Pecan Pumpkin Butter nestled safely in airtight bubble wrap.

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My eyes lit up and I just had to take a photo. The glass jar was perfectly intact. More than that, I was so delighted that Williams-Sonoma had taken the time to carefully secure my glass jar so that I can impress my family with a unique and tasty bread spread during my fall dinner. If only the merchant who sent my canned tomatoes had taken such care.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to the customer experience, details matter. Take the time to identify customer pain points and have an answer to the pain points so that your customers get the best possible customer experience. Also, try to anticipate questions your customers will have and answer those questions proactively. When you do, you’ll surprise and delight your customers and you’ll develop a reputation for a great customer experience.

Happy

Happy is how I feel right now.

Happy

In the past 5 weeks I have delivered keynotes in Newport Beach, Columbus, Oklahoma City, Scottsdale, and Minneapolis. I’ve been on my feet and racing through airports so much that I literally wore out a brand new pair of black suede pumps in one month. Seriously, I did.

When I wasn’t on a plane or in a hotel conference room speaking, I was conducting public webinars and private online workshops for clients.

Juggling family responsibilities, my kids’ sports and all that goes along with running a business has been a challenge. Yet, I loved every single moment of this tremendously busy season.

I connected with so many creative, intriguing and memorable people during my travels and after my keynotes. Feedback that continues to come in nearly daily confirms that I met and exceeded the expectations of every one of my clients.

I’m happy because I survived this busy season.

I’m happy because I nailed every single one of my keynotes.

I’m happy because I have just closed my travel calendar for 2014.

I’m happy because I am blessed to do the work I love.

I’m happy to be able to seize moments of joy. Like the moment I took my daughter out to the front yard for photos just because she walked into the room and took my breath away with her sprit and her beauty.

She was happy too. She’s a happy spirited person.

And I clicked the shutter at just the right moment to capture her happy jump.

I’m happy

Myra Golden is a storyteller, keynote speaker and customer experience designer. To have Myra deliver a keynote at your next conference, check out her speaking services here.

 

Myra Golden’s Slide Deck from ICAE in Newport Beach: Verbal Aikido as a Strategy for Handling the Consumer Vigilante (Extremely Difficult Customers)

Aikido woman

I had such a fun Monday! I taught Aikido!

Well, I taught verbal Aikido.

On Monday, I had the privilege of being the opening keynote speaker at the Insurance Consumer Affairs Exchange Conference (ICAE) in Newport Beach, CA.

As you know, much of what I teach is focused on how to most effectively deal with difficult customers.

So, for ICAE I designed and delivered a keynote (and workshop) on how to deal with extremely difficult customers. I call these customers collectively The Consumer Vigilante.

In my keynote, I explained that today’s consumers are impatient, savvy and relentless. Some customers, the consumer vigilantes, will stop at nothing.

I walked my audience through the toll difficult customs are taking on employees and organizations:

  1. Extremely difficult customers are putting serious stress on employees. This stress is bringing down morale and inviting burnout.
  2. Difficult customers cost companies money! The time it takes to deal with unhappy and extremely difficult customers is taking time away from your best customers and resulting in a poor customer experience because staff can’t deliver the best service to the best customers.

I shared thoughts, stories, perspectives and research to inspire my audience to take a more focused approach toward handling difficult customers. And then I offered a powerful solution to handling difficult customers, the consumer vigilantes of the world:

Verbal Aikido

My keynote was very well received. We laughed, engaged and learned 5 principles from Aikido for dealing more effectively with extremely difficult customers.

For the benefit of my wonderful ICAE audience and as a treat for my blog readers, I am posting my slide deck from the presentation. I also have a link to the videos I talked about in my keynote.

Enjoy. Share. Learn. Download the slide deck right here.

“Put Yourself In Their Shoes” video http://youtu.be/cDDWvj_q-o8

This is such a powerful video that truly gets participants to feel for another person.

And here’s the Jack Nicholson clip I talked about near the end of my keynote:

I actually feature this clip in my full-day customer service workshops. It gets hilarious laughter for sure, but after the clip we discuss how the waitress could have handled this customer better.

Watch the video, paying careful attention to the waitress. Note your first impression as she approaches Jack’s table, her facial expression, attitude, etc. Next, flip the script. What might she have done differently to have the situation end MUCH differently?

Enjoy!

The lesson here, of course, is to be flexible and friendly. These two attributes will take you a long way with customers, even the most difficult of customers.

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The suit does not make the woman

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I had a Mastermind meeting with a very successful entrepreneur who also has a growing professional speaking business. We met to trade ideas with the goal of making each other more successful.

One of the tips this successful businesswoman shared with me stunned me. She said, “I never speak in a suit that costs less than $3,000. As speakers we have to look the part.”

Wow. I don’t own a $3,000 suit.

She went on. “My makeup artist has carefully trained me to apply my makeup almost as good as she does. We have to look the part.”

Unless you count the free makeovers I’ve gotten at Mac, I’ve never had a makeup artist. Well, my 14 year old daughter gives me makeup tips.

Immediately I felt small. So regular.

Yes, I believe I need to look good on the stage. But do I really need to drop $3,000 on my suits and work with a makeup artist?

According to this businesswoman, yes, I do. She told me that when she’s preparing to speak at an event, she calls up Sak’s Fifth Avenue and tells them to bring 5 suits to her office. She’ll then choose a suit. Or two.

I don’t have it like that. Not even close.

So, I left feeling small. So small, that a few weeks later I went to Sak’s and looked at suits so that I could “look the part.”

I found 3 suits that I loved. One of them looked like a suit Oprah would wear. I totaled up the price of the three amazing suits: $13,600. (Of course this includes shoes, accessories and matching handbags. Of course.)

I didn’t buy even one. Suits like this are not in my wardrobe budget. I don’t even know why I went to Sak’s looking for suits. Oh, wait. I went because I was feeling small, like I needed to step my suit game up.

I thanked my lovely sales lady and left. On the drive home I was still feeling small.

But then I recalled that my fellow businesswoman is not like me. She is a millionaire. A literal millionaire. She can afford to look like a million bucks. Her clients may expect her to look like a million bucks. Maybe.

Do my clients pay me to look like a million bucks or do they pay me to deliver value?

My clients pay me to deliver a message and they expect me to deliver that message in an engaging, energetic and entertaining way. I put a lot of energy into designing and rehearsing my keynotes so that I captivate every member of my audience and exceed my client’s expectations.

And I deliver that value while still looking nice in my Talbot’s suits and Dillard’s shoes. I do my own makeup too. Unless my daughter is on the road with me. In that case, she does my eye makeup.

I don’t know that I walked out of the mastermind meeting with ideas to help me be more successful. Or maybe I did. I learned that the suit does not make the woman. Not this woman.

Some nice things clients have said about this woman who wears suits that cost less than $3,000. 🙂

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