Thinking Like a Concierge
Four Seasons. Nordstrom. Starbucks. These are all premium brands with a reputation for breathtaking customer experiences. Remove these experiences and the brands quickly wither into a commodity with little competitive differentiation.
We all know the web has billions of pages and an unprecedented number of options competing for a limited attention span.
Whether your company spends $2 or $200 to attract a quality visitor, the focus should be on delivering an online experience that engages, educates and delights. Over time, these experiences should evolve to reflect your ever improving understanding of that visitor.
Four Seasons is famous for the way its reservation agents use a conversational approach with customers to build a strategy for wowing them throughout their stay.
It's time your website starts acting more like a five-star concierge—and it's not as hard as you may think.
Aligning Your Technology
Most companies today have a customer relationship management system (i.e. Salesforce.com) that stores customer records. These systems can (and should) track every interaction that prospects and customers have with your brand.
Most companies today also have web content management systems (CMS) which controls all of the content on your website and determines how it's delivered to visitors.
Yet few companies are taking advantage of connecting these two systems to create more personalized experiences for visitors. Getting these systems aligned is often an initial step in being able to deliver better experiences.
However, don't forget that it's not just about the technology. What sets Four Seasons apart is the way they use these tools to grow customer profiles and turn that data into memorable experiences.
Building Rich Customer Profiles
Imagine the first call from your sales representative to a prospective customer delivering real value because they use basic data to personalize the interaction. This may include knowing what campaign drove them to the site, which pages on the site caught their attention and which products they were comparing.
This passive information can then be combined with active data gathered through a registration form or survey that may help you learn more about the visitor's budget cycle and intent to purchase. Together this information allows you to rapidly build rapport with the prospect and improve the quality of the overall experience for everyone involved.
Case Study: Delivering Delight after a Trade Show
Imagine a company heavily reliant on tradeshows for lead generation who takes advantage of tying in its back office systems with the representatives staffing the booth. The process may look something like this:
Step 1: A prospect visits their booth, has their badge scanned and engages in a conversation with a representative. This is the typical trade show interaction.
Step 2: The representative logs into the CRM on his mobile device, finds the visitor's record and completes a post discussion form.
Step 3: The data on the form creates a personalize extranet built by the CMS with information specific to pain points and interest learned during the discussion.
Step 4: Upon returning to the hotel that night, the representative reviews the draft extranet, makes some light edits, adds a customized introductory paragraph and e-mails it off to the prospect.
Step 5: The prospect is blown away by the customized, relevant and timely follow-up and decides to learn a bit more about the company.
Step 6: Because the prospect logged into view the extranet, the representative can now append the visitor's history on the site to the user profile in the CRM. Better understanding these actions can help the sales representative further build rapport with the prospect through highly targeted valuable touches.
Turning Data into Delight
Looking back at Four Seasons, we see that just having the data is useless unless you have the processes and people in place to take action. Four Seasons built a passionate team that uses the data to create a culture of "wow" for its guests.
Creating customized reports for your team based on their function can help them better understand how to use the information specific to their job. Collaborating with the people in your organization responsible for acting upon the data can help continually fine tune your approach and see the outcomes of the process.
Be sure to keep employees on their toes and engaged in the process by routinely highlighting areas of success and opportunities for improvement based on the data.
Try to always remember to make the process human by tying the measurement data back to real customer personas. Then discuss the customer experiences (and data) in the context of cross-departmental interactions.
Taking the First Step
Take a minute to think about all the data collected across your customer interactions. You may find that you are already well on your way to better understanding how to deliver delight.
Utilized correctly, this data can be used to create highly personalized online experiences that benefit your customers and your bottom line. Four Seasons' success is derived from how the entire organization performs for its guests in perfect harmony.
Your website should be an extension of your organizational strategy and replicate the best qualities of your most successful employees.