“Let’s face it: Today, most customer experience programs are a disaster.”
– – What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint
What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint is declaring war on the old way of providing customer service, everything from long waiting lines to restrictive return policies. This is only the beginning, though. What Customers Crave goes after CRM software, unanswered Yelp reviews, and email marketing disguised as spam. Why? Author Nicholas J. Webb argues that only optimal customer service will survive.
What is What Customers Crave About?
What Customers Crave emphatically asserts that most businesses don’t get “customer service” right. Today’s version of customer service is definitely more technical and targeted, but it still views customers as fixed data points with defined characteristics. To that end, the goal of marketing and sales has been to define and target the ideal “data point”. The role of customer service is to keep that “data point” happy, engaged, and actively purchasing more from that business.
The key flaw with this philosophy is that customers are more than just data points.
Customers are people. They are individuals with unique personalities that don’t fit so neatly into specific segments that can be targeted. Customers also aren’t silent. They have constant access to the internet and other technology that can make a big impact on other customers. Customers are able to research businesses, compare options, or write a review of a business in less than five minutes. This is unprecedented in the history of consumerism.
Because of these disruptive changes, What Customers Crave argues that business owners need to totally revamp how they look at “customer service”. Instead of trying to fit customers into easily defined segments, they need to observe and interact with the reality of who their customers are. Business owners should step away from the computer and experience the business from the customer’s point of view before, during and after the buying process.
What Customers Crave dissects each step in the customer buying process (called touch points) and looks at what a business (online and offline) can do to improve each step. Improving each touch point is the key, as the book suggests, to creating a specific experience. Optimizing a specific customer experience is the key to a constantly changing customer base full of individuals who aren’t content to remain fixed segments.
Author Webb, also known as the “Innovation Evangelist”, is a certified management consultant, expert in innovation and technology, speaker and workshop facilitator. During the course of his career in the innovation industry, he was awarded over 45 patents. Close to three years ago, he founded his own boutique innovation advisory firm called Cravve.
What Was Best About What Customers Crave?
What Customers Crave deserves a lot of credit because the book moves the “customer service” conversation to a new level, beyond CRM software and analytics. In one respect, it is like “Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends Kindle Edition” because it pushes readers to challenge their perceptions. In another respect, “What Customers Crave” goes much further. The book pushes business owners to use the insights they’ve gained from observation and experiments into their customer service strategy.
What Customers Crave also deserves credit for discussing aspects of offline businesses.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
What Customers Crave goes further than many books in the realm of customer insight. The book has great examples, especially for offline businesses, and advice on how the entire experience (sights, sounds, smells, etc.) of a customer directly affects the shopping experience. For example, if a restaurant has an angry waiter or unclean bathroom, this decreases customer satisfaction even if everything else was great.
The problem is that online business can’t duplicate the same experience. What can online business owners (for example, a life coach) do to enhance their understanding of their customer base when they can’t directly observe their customers?
Why Read What Customers Crave?
What Customers Crave was written with the business owner in mind who wants a higher standard of customer service in his or her business. The book seems particularly geared toward the offline business. It explains the limits of segmentation, CRM, and Net Promoter Scores as well as restrictive or even punitive customer policies (like overly restrictive return policies.) And it offers a new perspective for understanding your customer on a deeper level. The book claims to help you understand “the soul of your customer.” Using simple models and strategies (many that can be implemented without cost or a lot of time), owners learn how to engage with customers away from the spreadsheets, sales reports and graphs. Understanding the “soul of your customer” is the key to crafting the kind of experiences across your entire business that will keep customers coming back for more.
This article, “What Customers Expect is Good Service, What Customers Crave Are Awesome Experiences” was first published on Small Business Trends