How to Create a Perfect Customer Experience

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Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Peter Sandeen – Enjoy!

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photo credit: OutofChicago

If you’re not getting the customer referrals or repeat business you hoped for, something’s wrong.

Maybe your product doesn’t deliver the benefits customers expect. Maybe your service doesn’t meet the standards they expect. Or maybe your technical support doesn’t provide the solutions they expect.

Do you see the pattern?

Poor customer experience results when expectations aren’t met.

Your first instinct might be to make improvements to meet those expectations.

But the real problem could be that you’ve created expectations that don’t match your product or service.

Here’s how to create a perfect customer experience.

Control customer expectations

Your marketing foundation is your value proposition—or it should be.

Your value proposition is the collection of the best believable reasons your target customers have for taking the action you’re asking for.

If your value proposition is strong and communicated clearly, you’re setting the right expectations.

And the customer experience will be great.

But not many companies manage to do that consistently. And if you’re not getting the referrals or repeat business you hoped for, the problem probably lies within your value proposition.

Let’s take a look.

Identify the disconnect in your value proposition

Your value proposition can, unfortunately, fail in several ways.

But the problem that affects customer experience the most is inaccuracy.

If you give poor reasons to buy your product or service, people won’t buy. But if you misrepresent your offerings, even unintentionally, people will buy and be disappointed.

Let’s say you operate a party planning business.

You’ve built your value proposition around the idea that you coordinate all planning and organizing so the client doesn’t have to spend any time thinking about it.

It sounds like a natural reason for hiring a party planning company. But it’s inaccurate.

In reality, you need to get details and preferences from the client plus review, discuss, and finalize plans. But because you’ve built your marketing around the wrong idea (“no need to spend any time on planning”), you’ve created unrealistic expectations.

To be accurate, your value proposition and marketing should emphasize “save time on planning” and other reasons for hiring your company.

The difference might seem small, but many companies don’t consider the details. And because of those small, seemingly unimportant mistakes, the customer experience will be far from perfect.

But even if your value proposition is solid, you’re not in the clear yet.

Communicate your value proposition clearly

Using the party planning example, let’s say your value proposition is already in good shape. But inaccurate expectations might still cause problems without clear customer communication.

People hear what they want to hear.

If they’re hoping you’ll handle every time-consuming task required to throw a party, they’re likely to read between the lines and believe you’ll do that.

That’s why you need to be very clear and consistent about what the client will get.

You might worry you’ll look mediocre if you’re too specific and don’t make big claims. But with a strong value proposition, you can still be the best choice by promising—and delivering—a truly outstanding experience.

Set accurate expectations combined with high value

The trick is to emphasize the “secondary” reasons for choosing you.

If the primary benefit of your service is saving time, maybe one of the secondary benefits is a truly memorable party.

Then, even if clients interpret “save time” differently, you can remind them of the other reason they chose you: “To make the party truly memorable, we need to spend some time evaluating the best options for your situation.”

Setting accurate expectations combined with high value is the key, but that’s possible only when you know your value proposition.

When you have a strong value proposition, you can build an effective marketing strategy around it and create a “perfect” customer experience.

Have you been disappointed by a purchase? What expectations weren’t met?

PeterSandeen-gravatar-smallRight now, Peter Sandeen is probably sailing with his wife and dogs while the weather is still warm (he lives in Finland). But you can download the 5-step system for finding the core of your value proposition quickly, so you’ll know what people need to hear to join your list, buy your products, or hire you.


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Peter Sandeen


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  1. Good points here. And yes, I’ve been disappointed in a purchase. Or more like hiring someone, as in a real estate agent hired to sell my house just recently. I’m realizing now that she had no value proposition at all, and I hadn’t communicated my expectations either. My main disappointment was in her communication–or lack of–and also that she wasn’t familiar with handling paperwork via email. Fortunately, I was able to get out of the contract, and now as I interview others I’m going to keep this in mind. If they don’t tell me exactly what I should expect, I’ll ask, and if they aren’t clear then it’s on to the next one. Thanks!

    1. Hey Leah,

      Interesting to look at this from the client’s perspective as a qualifier. Sure, it’s not a stretch—you just flip the idea on its head—but interesting 🙂

      I quite routinely ask from new people who are trying to sell me something, “What makes you better than [blank]?” Usually, they give me a bad look, which tells that they don’t really have a good answer. But those who just take the question as a justified question and have a good answer tend to get my business. And at least I get an idea of what they focus on delivering well.

      Cheers,
      Peter

  2. The title is intriguing. There is obviously a lot that goes into creating the perfect customer experience, but to start with, you can’t go wrong with the ideas shared in this post.

    1. Hi Shep,

      Thanks 🙂 And yes, this is really just the starting point…

      Cheers,
      Peter

  3. There are some solid ideas here, especially be setting accurate expectations is so critical. To expand on that, I might suggest that the high value areas often some from contrasts between the product/service and competition, which often digs into those secondary benefits you mentioned. Anyway, nice addition Peter.

  4. Good advice Peter, if you lead your customer to expect one thing but then you give them poor value, they will be disappointed and chances are they’re not going back to buy your products again. Be genuine to your customers, don’t give them false hopes, setting accurate expectations can really change everything.

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