How to create an exceptional customer experience

An image of an ecstatic customer

by Ryan England

June 27th 2023

Published in Customer Experience

6 min read


    Does your eCommerce brand have a “wow” customer experience?

    What’s your mindset when you begin to deal with the customer service department of a company? In general, you’re already in an unfavourable position; something’s gone wrong with the product, the sale, or the service. Now’s the time to get a resolution and defuse the problem. But what differentiates between a good experience and an experience that makes your customers say “wow”?

    A good customer experience usually looks like this:

    We’ve all experienced it at some point. A package going missing on its way from the depot. Perhaps not even turning up at all. Let’s use the example of a vitamin subscription box.

    You have a monthly subscription for personalised vitamins. You have been taking them for months and have never felt healthier. But one month the package you were expecting goes missing. Tracking says it has been delivered to the wrong address.

    A parcel on a doorstep with a label saying "help, I've been delivered to the wrong address".

    A call to the customer service department will put you in a queue taking your mood from mediocre to annoyed, and the five-minute long menu option spiel takes that up another notch. Things aren’t going great.

    Then, finally, a kind voice answers, someone a bit more upbeat than you are. They ask the right questions, understand your issue, resolve it on the call, and politely ask if there’s anything else they can do for you. Problem solved, situation defused. You got what you wanted, and all it took was a call.

    This is the bare minimum required to even call it “customer service”. The only thing achieved was correcting a mistake and coming through with what was initially promised at the expense of the customer’s time.

    An exceptional customer experience looks like this:

    Same scenario. The company has no customer service line, just an app portal where you can request a callback. You think, “How ridiculous, they’ll probably call me back in a couple of days.”

    You complete the short form and ask for an urgent call. A minute after you complete the form, your phone rings, and you’re greeted by name. The customer service agent is pleasant, articulate, and has all your customer details to hand, only verifying the necessary ones with you verbally; everything else has been confirmed by your callback request form.

    The agent listens to your problem. They apologise and rectify the issue. As a gesture of apology, they send you another box immediately with a different courier. Plus, they gave you a £20 discount on your next box.

    When your next box arrives, you receive a sample of their newest product and a note thanking you for being a long-term customer. You liked the new product so you have added it to your monthly order.

    Feeling like a valued customer, you continue your subscription. The notification pops up in the app to double-check that your next box arrived. You leave a review about the seamless customer service you experienced and tell your friends about it. (Did you know that 72% of happy customers will share their positive experience with 6 people or more? Whereas, 13% of unhappy customers will share their negative experience with 15 people or more.)

    The vitamin company just gained a new fan.

    An image of a vitamin subscription box with a review showing excellent and 5 stars.

    Does this really happen?

    “Oh, yeah, that’s a seamless experience. It doesn’t really happen though does it?”

    Yes, it does really happen, but sadly, not often enough. Having worked for a few companies that built their entire (highly successful) business around “making the client go wow” (one of them even ran quarterly WOW! Awards that honoured excellent customer outcomes), I can testify to the effectiveness of such a mission. I can also confirm that it feels great to be on the receiving end of such stellar service.

    If in doubt, stroll into a W Hotel, who is infamous for their exceptional customer experience, and see for yourself. Granted, this level of service usually comes at a price, a high one. However, many affordable small and medium businesses understand the basic principles of incredible customer experience and use them to make their business and services exceptional. Why? How?!

    Well, firstly, it’s simple. Let’s take the example above and note the differences. What makes the second scenario different is the following:

    • The technical interaction creates an unexpected, incredible and seamless experience — the customer service platform is designed to minimise the customer’s time investment and enables the agent to be fully prepared for the customer interaction.
    • The representative listens and is empowered to go above and beyond  they don’t just defuse; they have the power to perform a service recovery gesture.
    • They listened to the customer’s needs and responded by offering a better overall solution before the customer knew it.
    • The end-to-end experience is designed to be able to take a reactive situation and be proactive in its resolution.

    The result?

    The company has just found an evangelist, a brand ambassador, likely extended the lifetime value of the clients and upsold a product. Research suggests that 87 % of customers who have had an exceptional customer experience will make another purchase — who doesn’t want that customer loyalty?

    This is incredible value to the business. It is an unforgettable experience for the customer. From a financial, reputational, and cultural point of view, it is a win-win on all sides, and it really doesn’t take much. This should also explain “why?”

    Artwork of a smiling man holding a love heart.

    It’s time to take action and improve your customer service.

    The main excuse: “We don’t have the time and resources.” I’ve heard this often from brands when discussing the importance of customer experience.

    Let me elaborate. If you don’t make the time to create a great customer experience, it’s because you’re either purposefully busy focusing on other things or unintentionally busy fixing issues caused by said lack of excellent customer service, so you definitely won’t have the time, and you’ll be burning the few resources you need.

    Working with eCommerce brands here really brings this whole concept to the fore. When we start working with brands, despite being a digital agency, this is a core part of our value proposition — “you take care of making a great product and a great customer experience; we’ll take care of everything else.”

    The result is invariably positive, as when we free up resources within brands and work concurrently with the internal team to create a “wow” Experience, all the points I touched on above begin to happen:

    • We create a seamless customer experience, from initial engagement all the way down to service recovery.
    • We build tools and platforms to allow team members to listen and be empowered to blow the customer’s mind.
    • We understand how to implement intelligence, allowing our clients to know their customer’s needs before they themselves know them.
    • We create a proactive mindset when it comes to customer experience and customer acquisition, understanding that brands grow not only through great marketing but also through great personal referrals.

    All it takes is a focus on your customers. Let’s jump on a call and I’ll tell you how to create an exceptional customer experience for your brand.