Rolling Out Truly Radical Changes to Delight Customers — and They are Absolutely Genius Ideas

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Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking on a webinar with New York Times best-selling author, Joseph Michelli. We discussed truly radical changes companies can make to create moments that matter — not just for the customer, but for the business as well. Joseph has spent 20 years working with companies who understand the importance of customer experience. The hall of fame includes companies like Starbucks, Zappos, The Ritz-Carlton, and Mercedes-Benz to name a few. In working with these companies, Joseph has become a firm believer in building out memorable moments into three key points in the customer journey — in what he calls pain, transition, and peak moments. Read on to learn from the crème de la crème on how they made it happen. May they spark some new ideas for you as you think about your own company’s customer experience.

How Audi found the cure for autophobia: Remember the last time you took your car into a repair shop? Unfortunately, I do. “Carburetor, what? Can you please spell that for me?” Yup, that’s what I said. Autophobia is a real anxiety disorder, my friends. It is defined as extreme pathological fear or aversion of auto repairs. I will be the first to admit that I suffer from it. I’m sure you’ve also developed symptoms of autophobia after that last oil change when you found out that there are fifteen things wrong with your car that require immediate attention. Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. So guess what some Audi dealers do to reduce autophobia. What they do is brilliant — the technician creates a custom video report that shows proof of your car’s condition with a simple explanation on when and why repairs are required so you can make an informed decision. Thank you, Dr. Audi. You may have discovered the cure for autophobia! Or at the very least, you have reduced some big pain points in the customer journey for Audi drivers.

“Thank Ewe” from the Allbirds sheep: Footwear startup, Allbirds, makes plush-looking sneakers (very popular among San Franciscan techies) that are supposed to be the “world’s most comfortable shoes.” The founder, Tim Brown, hails from the land of fluffy sheep also known as New Zealand, where the ratio of sheep to people is seven to one. So what makes these shoes unique is that they’re made of merino wool, a highly coveted material which comes from the fluffy sheep. And despite being a young startup founded in 2014, Allbirds is wise beyond its years when it comes to customer experience, with much to teach its older counterparts on how to delight customers. If you buy a pair of Allbirds online, you will receive an email confirmation with an animated GIF of a dancing sheep or ewe (which is a female sheep) with a big “Thank Ewe.” Not only are they leveraging a key transition moment — from online purchase to email confirmation — to make a memorable and emotional connection to their brand ethos, but the most genius of it all is that they include a “View Order Status” button on the email so you can track your package and know exactly when it will be arriving, taking the guesswork out of the picture. Thank EWE very much, Allbirds. You’re a genius.

From sea to shining sea with Southwest: Last but not least, let’s talk about how you might celebrate peak moments in the customer journey from the genius behind the world’s largest low-cost carrier, Southwest Airlines, which keeps its legions of fans flying from sea to shining sea. If you’re a Rapid Rewards member, the benefits go well beyond priority boarding. What you’ll get is not just your standard account summary recapping points earned, but also a look back on all your travel accomplishments so you can reminisce on the fond memories of your past trips, or even boast to your Facebook friends that you’re on an A-list somewhere. The email celebrates you as a traveler and tells you all sorts of fun tidbits, like how many times you’ve flown to your most traveled destination. With a celebration like this one, no exorbitant cancellation fees, and the prospect of a surprise performance from a rapping flight attendant, you bet we’ll keep our allegiance to Southwest. Of course, the cheaper airfare helps too.

OK, that’s it for the cliff notes version of the webinar. Hope you enjoyed these examples and that you’ll watch our webinar recording here. You can also check out all of our other webinar replays from our author series here. By the way, Joseph’s most recent book is Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Experience the Mercedes-Benz Way, which is an all-access look into the radical changes Mercedes-Benz made to their customer experience. Not only is Joseph an award-winning speaker, all of his books have hit the #1 on trifecta bestseller lists of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Anyway, I think he’s a really cool dude, and I’m pretty sure you’ll think so too after listening to our webinar replay.