Updated: Jul 2, 2019
I recently had to replace a product from Apple. When I arrived at the store, I noticed the signature Apple logo on a carved wooden sign above the door, and I actually felt my body relax. Weird, right?
My short walk to the store wasn't fraught with anxiety. I'd not been hunted by saber-toothed tigers or probed by strange little green men that fell from the sky. Why was I relaxed when I was about to actually lose money? And then, BOOM. It hit me.
1) Do you really know what your customers want?
I know that every time I walk into an Apple store for a repair, product, or service, there’s a near certainty I will be greeted by a knowledgeable employee, I won't waste my time standing in long lines, and odds are my needs will be met within ten minutes or less. Friendly, fast, and efficient.
I am particularly fond of friendly, fast, and efficient. It makes me feel appreciated and that my time and energy are being respected. It seems they also know something about me.
I have no checkout horror stories to share. No feelings of neglect or irritation at employees and managers ignoring me through the years. There have been exactly zero public displays of humiliation, such as arguments over pricing, or feelings of frustration due to long lines and understaffing.
Only good experiences and fun products that make me smile.
It makes me feel like I'm doing business with people who respect themselves, and others, and that I am in capable hands. I feel like they design products and services with me, specifically in mind. And I feel good about myself for doing business with people who know how to run a business.
2) When your customers think about you, how do they feel?
I can’t remember a time I’ve been anything other than impressed by Apple’s products, services, and people. They actually make me feel welcomed and valued. It's almost like someone actually took the time to think about what it might feel like to be their own customer.
I tell you this story, not to sell you on the Apple brand, but to make this point: Every interaction you have with another person leaves you both with a feeling. Positive or negative, for better or worse.
It’s really just simple math: your brand is the sum whole of your parts. Plus one or minus one. How did you make your customers feel today? If you produce more positive experiences than negative, you’re more likely to keep your customers. If they feel neglected or unappreciated, you are not.
3) Does your brand experience enhance or detract from your customer’s lives?
A wise man (life guru and Head Coach of Bakersfield College Women’s Volleyball team, Carl Ferreira) once told me “You’re only as good as your last performance.”
I used to think "Well, my last performance was pretty damn great, and pretty damn great is cool!" But what I think he meant, and what I'd like to say to you, in this context is: People only remember their last interaction with you. If you can do better, then do it. Don't leave anything on the table.
Keep up. Innovate. Take every opportunity to be better, and do it every chance you get. Can you honestly say that you'd bet your livelihood on your last performance?
Perhaps if business owners truly understood the effects they have on their customer's lives, and took the necessary steps to design and refine every interaction with them, every person on this planet could enjoy a much happier existence. I certainly know those business owners would enjoy a much bigger market share.
SimplyCX specializes in a closed-loop mapping style, which richly illustrates the details and insights of outside-in experiences. We identify and protect moments of customer delight and prioritize friction points that are putting your reputation at risk. Shoot us a message today and we’ll get your company on the right track.