"The marketplace has become like a grocery store and the mindset of the consumer has changed. To compete you need to change as well," says customer experience expert and bestselling author of marketing books David Avrin. In his most recent book he advocates the idea of morning huddles: powerful customer experience conversations within your team. "A WOW experience is not always the best. Treat customers the way they want to be treated."
It is perhaps the most important question: what are five things your customers would love if you do it? Things that you are not doing right now, but that will make an incredible difference to your customers. "So, I am working with a company in California, I ask this question and in seven minutes we crowdsourced 1200 ideas just among their own people. We narrowed it down to 10 game changing ideas that they would implement in the first year," Avrin recounts during his presentation 'A day in the life of the customer'. In his talk he discusses a few core questions. If you just write them down, you can easily forget them. So, David Avrin holds a presentation of an hour and lets the audience take active part in it. "Do this with your team. Elaborate on your perfect customer and the customer experience. Become easy to do business with and you will make a big difference."
Morning huddle: customer experience conversations
The idea of an easy customer experience should be everywhere in the company. "It is an ongoing filter in your mind and that of your team. The point is to get your team talking about it." Avrin turned his idea into a book called 'The morning huddle'. Each chapter is a conversation starter. "It is about powerful customer experience conversations to wake and shake you up and win more business. Ask questions: what are the things that we can; what are the things that work for us, but are frustrating to them. What is the internal process for somebody to complain, does it work? If you make it difficult to complain, then your customers will complain to others, online or to your competitors," he says in a video interview to Ian Altman.
The morning discussions reflect the customers' world. Customers want an easy process, but often don't get it. When talking about it with your team, you will find solutions. "The morning huddle is about sparking a real conversation every week, so that we can come to a measure of consensus. Here is who we are and what we believe, and here is how we are going to solve those problems, so that we are not in a crisis when something happens we have already discussed before that. It has been a real journey of love for me to help spark those great conversations with organizations."
WOW experience is not always the best
Customer experience has become a common term, but marketers and others often still look at it through their own lens rather than the customer's lens. "The biggest change is the whole growth of customer experience as a distinct discipline. Often when people refer to customer experience they are still conflating it with customer service and they are separate. They are intertwined, but the experience is really different. Customer service is what you deliver as an entrepreneur or as a staff. Experience is what we as customers experience as part of this. While many people talk about the importance of creating a WOW experience, I don't think most business models lend themselves to a WOW experience. You are maybe creating an electronic part that goes into an electronic device or into a car. It is not a WOW experience, but the experience is how easy are you to work with, how frustrating and complicated the process is, and what have you done to solve that."
Towards a customer centric approach
The competitive advantage is delivering a superior customer experience. "I am not one of these guys who are touting the WOW experience. We look as professionals and ask the question can it be done better, faster, smarter or more personal. We are re-examining those points of contacts and maybe we can do it with less friction," Avrin recounts in the show 'Start with a win'. Marketers nowadays focus increasingly on solving problems for customers. That is a good thing, but Arvin wants to take it a step further. "We want to be better than our competitors at understanding the outcomes that our customers are looking for, what problems they are looking to solve, not just understanding who is likely to buy, but what changed in their world. What are the things they would love that you currently don't offer? We are going from product centric to customer centric smart companies and they are winning on being better aligned with what has changed in the lives, expectations and needs of their customers."
When convenience surpasses quality
Expectations of customers have changed. "Research shows that today customers prioritize speed: speed of access, speed of answer, speed of ordering and delivery. Convenience has surpassed quality as the primary driver now. It is not that quality is unimportant. Today quality is assumed, because if you were not good, you would be outed." Sometimes CEOs get it totally wrong. When Arvin attended a conference, a CEO of a big company stated that 'at the end of the day it is all about quality'. "I buried my face in my hands, because I could not disagree more. At the beginning of the day it is about quality. Quality is the entry fee, but at the end of the day it is about competitive advantage. Not what you do well, but what you do better than others and the things that customers are prioritizing. Organizations are creating competitive advantage by simplifying the process, by shortening and simplifying some of the complexities, by getting people what they want faster."
An effective way in digital marketing to create a following is by using good social video content, as he explains in his book 'Visibility marketing.' "The benefits of video are vast. No longer are you relegated to merely explaining to prospects through ads or brochures what you offer, you can actually show them." By use of video you can be there with the customers. "This will help you stand out from the competition in a powerful way as your prospects and customers see what can be done with your product. They can see you and your people as human beings helping to solve their problems."
What are customers looking for in 2022? One of the key answers is: companies that put customers first. "There is this idea of the platinum versus the golden rule. The golden rule treats people the way you want to be treated. The platinum rule is to treat them the way they want to be treated." After one hour of putting questions to his audience that everyone should discuss in their teams, he comes with one final advice: "Become ridiculously easy to do business with and I promise you will make a big difference."