Let’s kick off this post about transforming your customer journey with a short rant. (Don’t worry… we’ll end with hugs and kittens.)
I’ll never forget the phone call I had with a customer service rep at my former bank. I had transferred money from my business account to my personal the night before, so I was surprised to receive a notification about an overdraft fee the next morning.
“Why do checks post before a transfer between two accounts?” I asked. “That makes no sense. The money is already in your system.”
“There have to be rules, sir,” she replied.
From there, our conversation devolved into the customer service equivalent of plucking nose hairs. The rep capped it off by saying, “It was a pleasure speaking with you today.”
“No, it wasn’t!” I exclaimed. “You didn’t enjoy this conversation any more than I did. The least you can do is set aside your script and talk to me like a human being.”
I’m not sure my response was best. However, I don’t think I’m alone in disliking the forced smile, sunshine-and-rainbows garbage that a lot of companies feed their customers.
As a customer, what do I really want? I want you to give me the benefit of the doubt. Please show empathy and compassion. Attempt to understand my perspective. I’m not being crazy or unreasonable.
Then, there’s Safelite AutoGlass.
Hopefully, you have also had a delightful customer experience similar to mine with Safelite AutoGlass:
- Booking online was easy, and the UI was clean.
- With a sequence of questions about the crack in my windshield and about my specific vehicle, the app pinpointed the specific windshield on my truck. That gave me more confidence in the outcome.
- At around $200 for parts, labor, and tax, the price was better than expected.
- When keeping my original appointment became too difficult with my travel schedule, I was able to reschedule my appointment on my phone for free in five minutes.
- The technician showed up at the appointed time and repaired my windshield in our driveway.
- He was polite to my wife and children.
- He cleaned up after himself.
- He finished quickly and left documentation, which outlined Safelite’s nationwide lifetime guarantee.
My experience with Safelite was satisfying, delightful even. I didn’t have to take time out of my work day to drop off my car or pay to Uber back to my office.
In the months since, I have recommended Safelite wholeheartedly. I see a cracked windshield, and I say, “You know Safelite can replace that for $200, right? They’ll even come to your house.”
I have become the brand ambassador. Why?
Safelite gave me more than I paid for. The overall value of the experience far exceeded the price. (Can your customers say that about your company?)
Your What vs. Their Why
“Value” is a slippery concept. How you think you deliver value may differ from how your customers understand, receive, or experience value.
“Balernum is a branding and marketing agency,” I might tell a CEO I just met. “We’ll help you rebrand your company and launch your new product.”
If he shows some interest and if I’m not careful, I’ll start describing our proven processes and talented team and unwavering commitment to excellence and neat haircuts.
While I’m blathering on about our competence and expertise, he’s thinking:
“We’ve got a trade show coming up and we’ve got no booth and our messaging just isn’t clicking with people and we really need to get traction and I’m freaking out and my Kindergartner has strep throat and how do you know what to focus on when everything seems important and it all needed to be done yesterday?”
Instead of talking, I could have been listening. I might have asked him about the outcome he’s after. Though what Balernum sells may not vary much, why clients buy certainly does. Our clients will tell us exactly how to sell to them.
Their Why should determine how we talk about our what.
Designing Customer Experience Around Transformation
If you can find out why your customers want to buy, then you can repackage what you sell in their language. You can deliver the medicine as a honey-flavored lozenge instead of an ointment.
To put it a different way, you can design a customer journey around their pain points and the transformation they’re after.
We have used this question from Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited to help us rethink Balernum’s customer journey:
“So what could your [Business Franchise] Prototype do that would not only provide consistent value to your customers, employees, suppliers, and leaders but would provide it beyond their wildest expectations?”
Take a moment to ponder… How can you deliver “consistent value to your customers” “beyond their wildest expectations”?
(Word to the wise: Your answer should not include saying to a long-time customer, “There have to be rules, sir.”)
Delightful customer experiences don’t happen by accident.
If you committed to loving your customers, how would your thoughts, words, and actions change? What vision do you have for seeing these people prosper?
I’m not trying to get woo woo on you but trying to prove a point.
We fail to learn from our customers because we tend to think of them as adversaries, not friends. We try to extract maximum value with minimum effort.
Yet, we have the opportunity to reframe our customer journeys with love and generosity.
- Do you love your customers?
- Are you truly serving them?
- How can you show them more respect?
- How can you make them feel special?
- How can you add more meaning and richness to their lives?
At Balernum we ask questions like these all the time. We’re obsessed with improvement, yes, but we want more than anything to do work that matters.
We know we have significance simply because we’re human beings. Beyond that, while we’re here on this earth, we want to invest our time, creativity, and passion in helping other people exercise their bravery and transform their lives and businesses.
Get Balernum's Customer Journey Workbook.
Speaking of, our customer journey workbook will help you think critically about your own customer journey. You can use it to reveal areas where improvement will translate into happier customers and bigger profit margins.
Oh, and more hugs and kittens. Why not design a customer journey that where the value far exceeds the price your customers pay?
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