Since the Covid-19 pandemic, people everywhere have learned to swap the physical world for the virtual world in a matter of months. I’ll bet you have, too. No doubt you’ve changed the way you shop, exercise, eat, travel, watch movies, and more.
As retailers learned to operate without stores, business travelers without airplanes, and sellers without offices, much of what started out as a temporary situation is now becoming permanent.
There’s no going back. That’s why companies like Facebook, Google, and Dell are investing billions of dollars in upskilling their employees to sell and service customers in a “hybrid environment.”
But, it’s not business as usual. Customer expectations have shifted. Some call this “Comparative Expectations,” or “The Amazon Effect.” Meaning, the new frictionless experience of buying online, B2C, influences our expectations for all B2C and B2B transactions.
Think about it. You’re at home. You realize you’re low on chunky chicken canned dog food so you press “Buy More Now” on your phone, and within 24 hours, Shadow is chowing down.
New contact lenses? Sent.
New Netflix series? Watched.
Drop shipment of mixed berries? Received.
New Porsche? On its way…
Today’s experiences need to be fast, frictionless and well, fun. Customer’s need to feel good doing business with you.
In fact according to recent research:
- 70% of customers will purchase based on how they feel they’re being treated
- 59% of customers will switch brands (even if they’re relatively happy) for a better customer experience
- 86% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience.
The reality is, if you’re not delighting your customer (and I’m not talking about just doing what they say you’re going to), you’ll lose that customer to a competitor. As an example: a few weeks ago I traveled to my studio in Vegas. I checked into my favorite hotel. The food, terrific. The beds, comfortable. The shopping, well it’s Vegas…. The location is perfect. BUT, their service had gone so downhill that it ruined my stay. In fact, I’m never going back.
Here are three strategies you can leverage right now to enhance your customer experience and make prospects feel like doing business with you.
Create T-Shirt Moments
Why do people stand in line after concerts, spend double to purchase trinkets in airports after a vacation, and buy cheesy hats after an exciting ball game? Neuroscientists have discovered when something happens that’s surprising, multi sensory, and emotional, we yearn to preserve the good feeling. We purchase t-shirts and memorabilia to prolong the feel good endorphins. I call these multi sensory wow experiences in the sales process “T-Shirt Moments”.
My friend Karen Keating, a top B2B seller, makes a point to send her customers a playlist before group calls. Panera bread anyone? She even fosters happy hours to win over multiple stakeholders. If you’re selling retail or B2C, ask yourself how will my customer feel when they check in to the front desk, look around the showroom, and complete their purchase?
One of our customers who specializes in kitchen improvements, leaves a bowl of HoneyBell oranges at the end of each install, with a note, ‘Orange You Glad you did Business With us?’. Get creative. Map out your Buyer’s Journey with t-shirt moments and watch your sales soar.
Create a Pre-Call Plan
I used to get so nervous before delivering a keynote that the night before, I couldn’t sleep. Years later, I hired a speaking coach. She offered me advice that changed everything.
“Rather than focusing on what you want to say, focus on how you want your audience to feel. What’s the experience that you want them to have?” What do you want them to do at the end of the event?”
The act of switching the focus away from me, and onto the customer, not only reduced my nerves, but created a richer experience for my audience. Later, I incorporated this idea into our training programs.
Ask yourself what do I want my customer to:
The very act of answering these questions will shift your frame of reference. You will pivot from what you want to say, to reflecting on what your customer needs to hear and feel in order to move the sale forward.
Offer Fresh Insights
The idea of insights and challenging customer assumptions was popularized in the seminal book, The Challenger Sale, by Brent Adamson and Matt Dixon. Offering insights requires approaching sales differently than you might’ve in the past. Rather than simply listening and agreeing with your customer, you must own the conversation. As a Challenger, you learn everything about your customer’s business and or personal situation AND muster the courage to push back at the right moment to drive the customer toward making a decision.
For insights to work, the client has to experience the “aha” moment where they learn something about themselves. We make them feel differently about themselves and their world: excited, curious and perhaps inspired.
Fast Frictionless and FUN
The experience customers have isn’t one thing. It’s the combination of many things, but sometimes it’s the smallest things that can make the biggest impact. Instead of asking yourself, “What should I say and do?”, flip the script and ask the most important question, “How do I want my customers to feel?”
You may be familiar with the quote from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Whether you’re working from home, in a hybrid model, or have returned face to face, remember…it’s still not about you.