The customer experience is where the rubber meets the road for your brand. Your organization has probably invested an incredible amount of time and money into melding the brand so that it presents the desired impression. All of that effort is wasted if customers have an experience that doesn’t align with what they’re expecting based upon the brand’s promise. A successful service model is one that brings your brand to life. It should leave customers fully believing that the promise your brand makes is authentic and genuine.

Keep It Simple

When it comes to creating your brand’s signature customer experience, simplicity is king. Because employees are ultimately responsible for delivering the experience, if the roadmap isn’t simple, logical, and memorable, it will only lead to dead ends, unfulfilled experiences for customers, and frustrated employees. Creating a successful customer experience starts by establishing a framework that defines what you want to achieve as it relates to your brand promise and then offers behaviors employees can leverage to deliver. Here are some general steps to follow as you build a framework for the customer experience:

  1. Define the objective. The objective of the service model should focus on the impression you want customers to walk away with after their experience with your brand. Depending on your brand and customer promise, some examples could include:
    — A sense of partnership between customers and your brand.
    — An emotional connection to your brand.
    — Reassurance that your brand will take care of customers or is a trusted advisor.
    — Excitement that your brand can empower customers to achieve something big.
  2. Identify the steps or phases. Once the objective has been defined, now you can identify the steps or phases of a customer interaction that can fulfill that objective. Focus on keeping it simple so that it can easily be trained and remembered by employees. If you have a list of 15 complicated steps, do you think anyone will remember them or be able to bring them to life? Focus on the shortest list of things that are essential. Three to five steps or phases have worked really well for some of our clients. Then come up with catchy, short words or phrases to make them memorable. It can also be helpful to create a brief purpose phrase for each step that clearly states what is to be accomplished.
  3. Define the behaviors. Within each step or phase, you can define a few key supporting behaviors, again making them brief and focusing on what’s really essential to support the brand promise. The behaviors are the clues that tell employees what they can or should be doing in each phase that will fulfill the objective and create the right customer impression. For example, if the first step in the experience is “welcome,” then perhaps one of the behaviors under that step could be “greet the customer by name.” This gives employees a behavior that enables them to fulfill the step.
  4. Determine Measurements. Now that the behaviors are defined, consider whether or not you can measure the success of the experience. Look at existing KPIs and think about how they could be linked to the experience or modified. For example, if a KPI focuses on selling multiple items in a single transaction, is there a behavior within the model that empowers employees to be successful? Consider whether there are new KPIs that should be added.

Working through these steps will give you a solid foundation for your customer experience. Once you have it defined, then you begin the process of infusing it into the culture of your organization by training and engaging employees and providing simple tools and job aids that make it easy and second nature to deliver the experience to customers.

The Kennedy Global team has worked with numerous global brands on creating service models and customer experiences that are simple, easily trained, and aligned behind the brand promise. If you need help defining or training your brand’s signature customer experience, we would be happy to talk with you.

What has worked well for your brand when creating your customer experience? How do you focus on keeping it simple while truly fulfilling your customer promise?

About Alice Wright

As Director of Content Strategy, Alice directs projects while also designing program strategy and instructional content. She has more than 22 years of experience managing integrated strategic marketing, communication and training programs for globally recognized brands. Some of her current and past clients include Nike, Sunglass Hut, Safeway, Banfield Pet Hospital, Office Depot, Unilever, LensCrafters, EMC, Intel, Microsoft, Dell, adidas, Joann Stores and others. Alice earned her bachelor’s degree from the School of Journalism and Communication at University of Oregon. She lives with her husband and teenage son in Portland, Oregon where she loves exploring the outdoors and being a soccer/band mom.