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Episode 79: The Ideal Customer Experience - From Defining to Delivering

by Hannah Rose | Dec 27, 2023 10:00:00 AM

I.C.E. I.C.E. Baby! Doug and Jess are talking about the Ideal Customer Experience today. Four Seasons, Walmart, Fuddruckers, and Apple are just a few examples discussed in the episode to show what to do (or not to do) with your customer experience. They also talk through how RevOps should prioritize customer experience and how to keep it aligned with the business.



Additional Resources:

Show Notes:

Pre-Show Banter: Doug has bonked for the year, meaning he’s hit a point of exhaustion and has lost all energy. Jess pitches to go to Disney for one of our team meetings and she’s so ready to deal with all of us children if that happens. 

The ideal customer experience is giving customers what they want, when they want it, without them having to ask. When looking at Four Seasons and Walmart, both provide different experiences, and both can be considered ideal customer experiences. Walmart focuses on serving customers who live paycheck to paycheck and provides convenience and affordable prices. The Four Seasons focuses on providing a more luxury experience where the customer doesn’t have to think as everything is taken care of for them. The Four Seasons is known for its consistency and ability to handle problems effectively. How a company behaves when something goes wrong reveals a lot about their character. 

Meeting customer expectations versus exceeding customer expectations is a key concept in delivering exceptional customer experiences, but exceeding expectations does not always mean providing more. Rather it can be as simple as understanding and anticipating the customer’s needs and desires. 

Doug wrote a blog post on this topic before and in the post he mentioned a time he went to Fuddruckers where the waiter constantly interrupted to ask if they wanted refills or needed anything. While the waiter was trained this way and may have been an attempt to create a “wow” experience, it actually detracted from the overall experience. The key that they missed was being able to read the room and understand the context of the customer’s visit. For Fuddruckers during lunch, customers are most likely there for a casual, forgettable dining experience. Meeting them halfway and understanding their specific needs and preferences is essential. 

This also connects to Clayton Christensen’s concept of “jobs to be done,” as different customers have different needs depending on the time, context, and purpose. He brought this up with McDonald’s and their milkshakes. While McDonald’s is now trying to become something other than the last resort for a meal, the one thing they do have going for them that makes them valuable is that they’re consistent. Consistency is the key to a strong brand. 

The goal of customer experience should be to meet their expectations, not to exceed them. Striving to exceed expectations is impossible and sets a standard that cannot be met. Research that Doug has done show that there is virtually no difference in loyalty between customers whose expectations are exceeded and those whose expectations are simply met. Exceeding expectations can lead to confusion and uncertainty for customers as they may end up not knowing what to expect. 

It’s important to define the core purpose and experience of your business. For example, for Fuddruckers, their core purpose shifted, leading to a decline in customer experience. They were in-between different experiences which was confusing. The same thing happened with a friend of Doug’s who opened a coffee shop. They didn’t understand that there’s a difference of experience between morning coffee and afternoon coffee, and not bending to those two different experiences hurt them in the end. 

Exceeding expectations is often seen as standard advice, but to Doug it’s driven by laziness rather than a genuine desire to provide a great customer experience. Setting expectations requires effort and thought, whereas exceeding expectations can be a vague and undefined goal. Rather, the goal should be to make things easier for the customer by eliminating surprises and delivering on expectations. Here, sharing potential challenges or obstacles can actually enhance the experience by setting realistic expectations. Rather than focusing on creating “wow” moments, it may be more effective to find ways to deliver the desired outcome faster or more efficiently.

RevOps should prioritize customer experience and be responsible for defining the customer journey. The experience overall should be aligned with the company’s brand and business goals, and RevOps should focus on understanding customer expectations and delivering value through meaningful interactions.

Sometimes, the best action is no action at all. Start with doing nothing until there is a clear need or opportunity to intervene. Meet the customer halfway and provide value without overwhelming them. It’s also important to continuously evaluate and improve the customer experience, adapting to changing customer expectations and market conditions. Here RevOps should be proactive in identifying and addressing customer issues before they become larger problems. 

Jess’s Takeaways:

  • Trying to exceed expectations can cause higher costs and less returns.
  • Meet your customer halfway.
  • Don’t give a “wow” experience, give an effortless one.

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