13: Creating a Customer Experience that Wows
Customers who feel appreciated, respected, valued and recognized are loyal because they have an emotional connection to your company. In this episode, Cara and Kim discuss the importance of creating a customer experience that wows your ideal client, reduces points of friction, and creates a relationship that sets your business apart from the competition and keeps your clients coming back again and again.
Our Big 3 Takeaways
Your customer experience is what sets you apart.
Customer experience is often in the details.
The customer experience should align with and elevate the customer journey.
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Transcripts are autogenerated and may contain typographical and grammar errors. This transcript is copyright©2021 Kimberly Beer and Cara Taylor Swift. DO NOT COPY in whole or part without written permission.
Open the Transcript
Welcome to The Business Animal podcast. saddle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry, where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast, with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelm to obedience school, and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts, Kim Beer, and Cara Taylor Swift.
Kimberly Beer 0:23
Hey there business animals. This is Kim with Be More Business.
Cara Taylor Swift 0:27
And this is Cara Taylor Swift with Fast Horse Photography.
Kimberly Beer 0:30
Welcome to The Business Animal. Today we want to talk to you about creating customer experience and how important creating that customer experience is for your clients. So to define what we mean by customer experience, we’re talking about the sum total of all of the interactions and touchpoints that your customers have with you from the moment they very first learn about your business through forever because once they’ve come into contact with your business, that customer experience never ever ends, they’re always going to have that impression, they’re always going to carry with them the interactions that they have had with your business. So as a business owner, it’s really important that you script this experience for your customers in a way that benefits them. And you and that’s what we want to provide you some tips on for today’s episode Cara, why don’t you bring us in with the big three,
Cara Taylor Swift 1:28
I’m happy to so the first of our big three, we’re going to talk about your customer experiences what sets you apart and makes you the choice for your market. Therefore it should be unique, brand aligned and dependable. The second of the Big Three is customer experience is often in the details, think about the small things that create a wow moment for your customers. And the third is the customer experience should align with and elevate at each step of the customer journey.
Kimberly Beer 1:52
Awesome. So let’s start with that first one, your customer experience is what sets you apart and makes you the choice for the people that you want to work with a big point in here that I want to make for people is that customer experience is exactly that. It’s about your customer. It’s not about you. It’s not about your competition, it’s about really getting to know those customers and understand who they are, what their pain points are, what they’re seeking to gain from working with your business, and their unique personalities, and their unique ability of walking through life in yours and how it jives together and makes all that cool synergy that makes that experience so amazing.
Cara Taylor Swift 2:37
When you say that what I think about is how a lot of times when we’re starting our businesses, we have a tendency to first look and see what does everyone else in the industry doing that’s similar to what I want to do. And then a pitfall that we can fall into is trying to model our businesses exactly like the competition, everything from our headshot that we’re putting on our marketing, you know, is similar, the language that we use might be similar, the gifts that we give to our clients might be similar. And I think that’s where the problem starts, like you’re not setting yourself up to be the wow factor. you’re setting yourself up to be just like everybody else that’s going to do the exact same thing that you’re going to do. And that’s not the goal. So I think that it’s important to know your market, know what people are charging, know what people are providing and level of service. But how do you take that and make it unique to us so that your customers have an awesome reason to come and use you and to be your client as opposed to someone else in your area.
Kimberly Beer 3:34
Exactly. And this is about attracting the person that’s going to work with you. So for me, I mean, I work in Marketing and business development, and a lot of people that are in the type of business that I’m in, they are very businessy. They have business clothes and business shoes, and I tend to do business in boots. It’s a different experience, right? And the clients that I work with, they feel comfortable with me because I am wearing ariat boots, they wouldn’t necessarily feel as comfortable with somebody who had on and this is how bad it is Cara? I don’t even know what cool shoes like corporate women wear anymore. Like what are the brands that are awesome. I’m like totally out of the shoe world. And now that I’ve been gone from corporate America for 25 years.
Cara Taylor Swift 4:23
Well, it doesn’t matter because if you did have on the fancy lady shoes and all of your pictures and your imagery and in your videos and then they sat down in front of you in your office and you were wearing your boots that you work in and the hat that you work in because you’re out in the sun all day, then they might have a different expectation.
Kimberly Beer 4:41
Yeah, and my full confession and the last piece of the shoe puzzle is my feet won’t go in heels anymore. They’re just not made that way you may let us know they have spread out now and are like okay boots only for us. They don’t even make heels wide enough for my feet anymore. With all of that said, the goal here is to make sure that when you are creating your customer experience that the customer you want to attract into your business feels comfortable with you, right and it fits for them. Because honestly, I want to work with people who work outside, who wear boots, and I want them to be able to sit in front of me and not feel like they have to alter themselves in order to work with me. So it’s just a really important facet of it. And I will tell you for years, I had that really nice photo shoot that made me look very corporate. And now if you go to my website, there’s me with a horse and a cowboy hat.
Cara Taylor Swift 5:40
Well, and I think that makes a good point. Because the truth is, is that when you’re talking about customer experience, we’re talking about where that begins to right. And so the customer experience, in my opinion, really begins somewhere you might not think it begins, it can begin where they first learn about or see about your business. So maybe they Google you, and they end up on your website. And so that customer experience begins with your Google ranking to the point where they get on your website, and they’re navigating your website. And if there are things like a broken link, or they have a hard time finding what they’re looking for, or they don’t know where to contact you or what city you’re located in, then that’s that’s your customer experience on display right there. So that’s the beginning of it. So you know, Kim’s talking about, you know, you want to look consistent to what they’re going to get when they see you. But the truth of the matter is, is that it starts at that very first place, and it continues through the entire process and never ends. So even after you feel like okay, we finished working together, that experience continues with the way you say thank you and the way you follow up with them down the line to make sure that they’re getting satisfaction still from whatever you provided them or that maybe they need more, it also continues on down the line to when they interact with new people, they’re now part of that customer experience, and that they’re out there in the world telling people about what their experience was with their business. So it never ends.
Kimberly Beer 7:08
It never ends. And the truth. Another truth in this matter is that you don’t have a lot of control over where they first come into contact with your business. If you’re being a savvy marketer, you don’t put all of your marketing eggs in one basket, you have business cards, you have a website, you’ve done your search engine stuff, you’ve gotten your Facebook page up your social media presence is up, you may be been to an expo or a speaking engagement or you’ve done your networking, there’s just literally hundreds of ways that a customer can enter into your atmosphere and your environment and begin that customer experience. And from the pre thought phase of this as a business owner, when you’re looking at the 30,000 foot view of your business, you want to look at what if what if this is the first place that a client gets to see me? Or if this is the first interaction that a customer has with me? What kind of impression is that going to leave? And what kind of customer experience am I setting them up for and I’ll tell you, people when they first meet, you are far less flexible than when they get to know you a little bit better. So as they get to know you maybe a small inconsistency doesn’t bother them. But just our current culture and the number of scams and inauthentic people out there, we all have a spidey sense about looking for inconsistencies in customer experience and touchpoints right from the very beginning. And that’s when you can tend to lose people is before they’ve built in that resilience of saying, Oh, you know what, I know Kim and that broken link, she just didn’t notice it because she’s busy. So maybe I should mention it to her the next time I buy her website versus somebody whose first impression is coming to the website, clicking on the very first thing they click on and nothing happens. So you do want to kind of think about those things ahead of time. And because you don’t have a lot of control over where people enter doing your due diligence and making sure that that experience is as consistent across the board and as cleaned up across the board as you can is really important.
Cara Taylor Swift 9:13
I think the fourth piece of this too, then is thinking about creating that customer experience that feeds the way you want to do business and also the level of income that you want to create for my business. I am definitely not a high volume business, which means that I kind of have the luxury but also the need to create an experience that is really elevated provides a ton of value from beginning to end because I need to be able to garner a price point that allows me not to be high volume so that I can still have a life. So if you are an animal based business that is high volume, meaning that you’re seeing people all the time, like all day every day. I think you really have to sit down and plan what that experience is going to be like and how do you work in high quality experience. At a high volume level
Kimberly Beer 10:01
Exactly, and Cara, I really admire your business model in that you have made a decision that you want to really hone in on a certain client that wants and just absolutely loves the experience that they get from you with your photography, and that they have a product at the end of that that exceeds their expectations, even though their expectations are really high. And I love that you’ve created that in a way that attracts that perfect customer into your business. And as you told me, when we were prepping for this episode, you kind of vet people so that you know you have the right person that’s coming into your business, and that they’re going to be particularly pleased with that customer experience that you’re providing that it fits really, really well with them. And I think that when we’re mindful of that, as business owners and setting up the customer experience, what we do is we create better referrals, better social proof, better everything. And it’s because we create happier customers, right because they’re more aligned with the whole experience. So definitely create the world where that perfect customer that you do business with is getting the beyond best experience that they could imagine.
Cara Taylor Swift 11:26
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Okay, so here’s number two. Again, we’re going to talk about how customer experiences often in the details, the small things that create that wow factor moment for your customers, this is huge for me and I get really bogged in the details, I think about all the senses. So for a great example is I have a studio location where my clients come to view their images and make selections about their final products. So that’s where they’re viewing an ordering appointment. So when I get ready and get prepped for having a client in my office, I usually stand in the doorway actually before the doorway because I think about things like do I have cobwebs in the door? Is there dust on my sign? You know, did I spell the person’s name correctly on my welcome board? And then I walk in and I look around? And I think what is the experience? Can I smell the smell of my dogs? Who likes to lay on the rug? Sometimes when I don’t have clients here are things dust free? Are the pillows on the couch, or they’re going to be sitting obnoxious? What do they see when they look around? I try to think about all of that.
Kimberly Beer 13:10
That is way way more detailed than I personally get. But I love that thought it fits with. But But okay, but realistically, that’s the person that you’re bringing into your business, right. So in in the first one of our big three, we talked about, you know, feeding the way that you want to do business. That’s the type of person, the person that appreciates the level of customer experience that you provide. And the level of quality of the end product appreciates that level of detail in the experience of walking in and seeing their name on the board and the smell. I mean, these are all subconscious.
Cara Taylor Swift 13:53
Like I don’t point them out when people walk in, you know?
Kimberly Beer 13:57
Oh, smell that beautiful smells, you know, what is good photography smell like? This is age old stuff, right? Who doesn’t love the smell of a new car?
Cara Taylor Swift 14:07
I mean, think about that, or when your house shopping and you walk in and it smells like apple pie.
Kimberly Beer 14:12
Exactly. That’s all part of it, right? It’s the reason why really high end purchases, like when you go to buy a tractor to have your name on the board. Or when I was on boarded into an affiliate program that was pretty expensive for me to invest in. When I logged into the very first zoom meeting, there was a picture and I was on like the onboarding board and I could see my business name and all of that’s part of the customer experience because it’s putting that customer first and then really exploring what the customer is going to feel like when they walk into the business and I give my students in the basic business classes that I teach. I give them a really unique exercise which I’ll share with you guys on our show notes page where I encourage them to write from their customers point of view exactly what you just did Cara about, walk into their office, take a look around, but even go further than that, think about where are the points that they can enter the business? And what did that feel like? And then how could you create a really synergistic experience that brings up the magic? and makes it so I know we talked about Disney, you know, when you walk into anything Disney, you leave your world behind in or transported to their world. And although I’m not sure we all can achieve the level of a Disney effect, we want to create our own version of that, right. And the story exercise gets you to kind of think about that, from your customer’s point of view, how do things look? How does it smell, or they’re uncomfortable pillows on the sofa? Maybe maybe the uncomfortable pillows are part of the customer experience, because you don’t want them to sit there for too long, or possibly you look for nice overstuffed ones that encourage them to hang out longer. So you’ve got to look at it from your point of view, and how are you going to create that magical experience for them.
Cara Taylor Swift 16:07
You mentioned Disney and I live in Florida, as I’ve mentioned on here a couple times. And so I’ve spent a fair amount of time sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly at Disney, but one of the things that you notice, especially if you’re there like an opening is you’re standing outside the gates and it feels like when they open the gates and let you in that somebody flipped a switch. And magic happens like the magic happens, someone flips the switch and the music comes on, and the characters come out. And the smells of cookies and candies being made are wafting out of the buildings as you walk by, there’s beautiful lights and sound, you’re just immersed in this magic. And I think that’s really important that we figure out how to share the magic have our clients be a part of that magic, but that we don’t necessarily always share the behind the scenes part of it. You know, my clients will say things to me, like, Can you take a couple pounds off of me, you know, I always feel like I look heavy in photos. And I’ll say to them, that’s my job you know, is to make sure that you look your best and that I’m posing you in a way that you know makes you feel really good and that you’re going to love the end product. And of course, if we need to do a little behind the scenes Photoshop work, I’m happy to help with that. However, I’m not going to show them the picture of the double chin probably or the pictures where their eyes are closed, or the one where I shot them at an angle that the lighting was picking up every line on their face. You know, they don’t need to see the inner workings all the time. So back to Disney. When you go to Disney. You never walk in through Disney and go into the bathroom and see Mickey Mouse on the toilet or standing in line to wash his hands. Right? Yeah, that takes away the magic. So think about how you can share and create magic in your business without talking about all the secret sauce that goes into getting it done.
Kimberly Beer 17:47
No, they don’t. They don’t definitely I don’t want to picture Mickey Mouse in the bathroom that does it’s not an appealing vision, right?
Cara Taylor Swift 17:54
Well think about when you go to a restaurant and you sit down to eat. And then you have like, hold on, I’ll be right and you run to the bathroom and the waitress that brings all your food is washing their hands on the way out. And suddenly you have to go sit down and eat. I mean, of course those people use the bathroom, right? We know that. But when we’re having a meal, we don’t want to see that
Kimberly Beer 18:11
Nope. But it’s nice to know they washed their hands. So I like that affirmation that the person serving my food was a hand washer in the bathroom. So that’s a big benefit. What you’ve kind of talked about here is something else we discussed in our prep for this episode. And that that is creating a story that places your client as the hero of this experience as the person who is going to try to empower and give them confidence. And I want to point out one thing that I think was important than experience that you and I had together. And that was when we started the podcast, we kind of figured out really quickly that we were in over our head a little bit. And we did hire a consultant jazz who does our production work now we’ve still have a relationship with her. But she created an experience for us. That was an empowering one. It felt very consistent. It was fun. It was light hearted. It was also very serious and packed with a lot of really good information. But I think we both walked out of there very confident in what we were going to do next and very empowered through her and through her knowledge and expertise. And for businesses like mine, I feel like that’s an important place where that’s part of the customer experience is that empowerment. It’s setting that person up as the hero of their own story so that when they walk out into the world, they walk out knowing that they did good in this customer experience. So you’re setting them up basically for success in achieving whatever it is that your business is striving for. For me that would be creating an entrepreneur who who feels not overwhelmed in their business who feels peaceful and confident and balanced for you. It would be Having a beautiful wall art that that evokes memories, and then also probably great memories of the photoshoot and the experience of picking out the images as well. So each time you do that, think about placing your customer as that hero and seeing where in your customer experience that you can script or choreograph the experience for them to be a successful one that gives them the awareness that they really are the hero in their own lives.
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The next one is to create a customer experience that aligns and elevates at each step of the customer journey. So as customers progress with you and get to know more about your business and work with you, you don’t want the customer experience to fall off flat, right, you don’t want to drop the detail, you don’t want to let that go. Because that’s another thing I think is consumers were really savvy about noticing is when we kind of have been baited into a situation and then all of a sudden we’ve said yes, we’re going to do this. And then the customer experience suddenly shifts from being this very personalized, very enjoyable, very setup experience to feeling like you’re on a conveyor belt to the end result. I think that that’s a letdown for people if you’re in that situation. So you can’t just think about that first touch point or the second, you’ve got to think about this as a customer journey from contact to never ending. So to me, the best place for you to do that, or the best place to start is to think about how you can create things that are repeatable. In other words, this is the way that we do it here. This is what I expect, like what you said, Cara that you have a repeatable task and that you put out a whiteboard, or however you display the person’s name, when they walk into your studio, that that’s the first thing they see. And then the next thing and then the next
Cara Taylor Swift 22:30
thing. And if you’re someone that has employees, it has to translate across from each employee. So you can’t have yourself bringing someone in and getting them booked, but then maybe you work with people in some other areas that you’re going to be then referring them to. And you have to remember that the experience needs to transition smoothly and be consistent across the process. So if you’re working with employees, everybody needs to be on the same page about that.
Kimberly Beer 22:54
Ideally, when your customer experience process matures, you would have something like a standard operating procedure that would outline the basics of it, but allow for enough flexibility for individuality. I know Cara, you mentioned you have sometimes customers that have special needs. And although you may prefer to communicate with people on phone or over zoom, that may not be a possibility. So you have to accommodate that particular customer and having that kind of as a plan to where Okay, if this is the way it is, then what we need to do is take this step in this step in this step versus steps one, two, and three, that would be in the standard operating procedure.
Cara Taylor Swift 23:36
It’s a line you have to walk where you’ve got, you know, a standard procedure where you know, this is a great level of service, and that the customer experience can be awesome with this. But your customers are going to have unique needs like you might have a customer that needs to communicate via text, as opposed to the phone or a client that maybe if it’s your standard to go to their house, maybe they would be more comfortable coming to your office, you know, and being able to make those little tweaks will definitely elevate that level of service and that experience for that client.
Kimberly Beer 24:03
Yeah. And again, you’ve got to think about these things ahead of time. Now you can’t think about every possible scenario, that’s just not going to be possible. So one of our recommendations for you as if customer experience feels kind of new to you like this is something that you’ve got your business going and you’ve kind of been flying by the seat of your pants for a bit. And now you’d really like to uplevel that into more of an experience. And I think entrepreneurs when they first become entrepreneurs, this is a struggle because it’s always a work in progress, right. And if you have any type of inner perfectionist, which I think we all do, you tend to feel like you’re getting picked apart because you don’t have a really solidified customer experience. All I can tell you is after 30 years now of entrepreneurship. This is a process that you will be continually honing and refining and thinking about and the longer you’re in business, the better you’re going to get at it. But if you’re starting out Don’t try to make every single change right from the very beginning, you can start slow, you can start by looking at just even saying, Okay, do all of my brand colors sort of feel consistent? So when the customers come into contact with me or or start by shifting, you know, your pillows around or just even thinking about what’s the smell in your office? I’m really glad people don’t come here to my office very often because
Cara Taylor Swift 25:32
the goats and the chickens that join us for the podcast. Yeah, yeah. I could see why.
Kimberly Beer 25:38
Well, I’m stuck in the office day. Yeah.
Cara Taylor Swift 25:40
So I just think one of the best things that you can do is start talking to your customers collect that feedback. Look for those areas of friction for when people come in, listen, for the things that people consistently struggle with, when they’re interacting with you, that’s a great place to start. Like that needs to be something that you fix pretty quickly. And then, you know, talk to your customers and slowly start to clean up those areas in the experience that aren’t absolutely wowing them. And that doesn’t have to happen overnight, it should happen slowly. And it should happen as you acquire clients and they go through your experience, I personally never like to change the way that I provide customer experience up in the middle of an experience with someone so as I’m working with someone, I like to be consistent as I work my way through. And then if I have ideas or I see areas where you know, there’s a lot of friction that my customers are experiencing, then I start to implement things to make that better as it goes all the while asking my clients, what was that experience like for you? Was there something that could make it a little bit easier for you, just having those conversations is huge. A great example, I use hair and makeup pretty regularly. And I always asked my clients, how was your experience with the hair and makeup process? You know, did that work for you? Were you happy with it, you know, were they open to your ideas. And I get great feedback from that. So that’s just an example. Like always be asking and communicating and talking make those changes slowly.
Kimberly Beer 27:05
Yeah, and I’ll tell you another thing here as well, good customer experience. If you’ve honed this process in and you’ve really got it well designed, it should be boring for you, not for your customers. But for you, it should be boring, I have worked with a lot of businesses on their 30,000 foot marketing views that want to really concentrate on customer experience. And when we sit down and look at it, if there are mature business, they usually have a really pretty decent customer experience, plan in place or process. They may not actually call it that or have it written down yet. But they’ll be like, well, this is boring, I want to mix it up, I want to do something new. The reality is, is you live in your business every single day your customers come in and out of it. And if you’ve created a really good experience for them, so they walk away feeling really confident, you don’t need to be mixing it up all the time to make it seem fresh, it is fresh for them. Honestly, when it’s mature for you, it probably is a little bit dull, because you’re doing the same thing over and over and over again, that just means you’re doing it right. Because if you’re not looking for places that you have to fix things, you’re doing a good job out there in the world,
Cara Taylor Swift 28:19
I would discourage people too, from thinking about making the idea of service to your clients mixing that up with giving them stuff and free stuff. And definitely you want to over deliver as part of the experience. But it isn’t necessary to give a ton of free stuff, it’s more important that you are servicing the needs of the client consistently and adequately and going above and beyond in terms of anticipating those needs. So I think we get caught up sometimes and saying, well, I will as part of this experience, I’m gonna give them a whole bunch of free stuff, and they’re gonna love me. And that doesn’t necessarily make a loyal fan of your business that makes someone that’s really happy to get some free stuff. But it doesn’t put them in a position necessarily for loyalty.
Kimberly Beer 29:02
No, and it doesn’t empower them either. I think one of the things that we have to remember is money is an exchange of energy. When you put energy into something, you feel more confident in the result of your investment. If you think about like working out or working physically working on your body. If you go to the gym every single day. That’s not easy. It’s an investment. But in the end, you feel super good about what you’ve created. When you look at yourself in the mirror. And that’s an exchange of energy and exchange of energy is no different in a business. When people invest their money in something. It’s empowering to them to say I’ve made this decision I’ve put this energy forward into it and this is the result that I’ve created in partnership with whatever the business happens to be. And I think when you give people too many free things or when you overpack you overwhelm them and Then you also take away their empowerment. And that’s a big shift in mindset to kind of think about and studies have proven, if you want to do some research and do some googling on it, they’ve proven that discounts are usually not the deciding factor or the experiential difference for consumers. It’s the level of service, the attention to detail and the tailoring of the experience to that individual feeling like they’re very aligned with the brand that’s providing the service for them. I would like to just say, for people, I just want to cover three things that I like to talk about when I do presentations around branding. And that’s kind of identifying we’ve covered these three things. So I’m going to be really brief about it. But if you’ve been in business a while, here’s three typical mistakes that I see when people are creating a customer experience. And and we’ve talked a lot about consistency. But check it make sure that you’re not being inconsistent do things match across all of the platforms do people who come to your website feel like they’re meeting the same person that was was portrayed on the website, when they meet you in person, authenticity is really important. So if you’re being inauthentic, the way this shows up is that you are usually trying to match or exceed a competitor or that you are doing things the way other people tell you you should be doing rather than you embracing yourself. And typically this is going to feel uncomfortable because it isn’t you and it isn’t authentic. And then the third one is that you’re being too inclusive in your customer experience. In other words, you’re not honing it down to that perfect client and I think we talked about that beautifully with your business Cara and that you’ve created this experience this for a very specific set of people and they excel at it, love it feel empowered by it are all on board with it. But somebody who wasn’t perfect for that experience, it might be uncomfortable or or does not quite feel right or feel like yeah, it just wouldn’t be as synergistic. Those are three things to look for in your customer experience program. If you already have one consistency, authenticity and targeted or niched, down to the point that you are really serving the people that are ideal for your business. I say we repeat the big three and remind people one more time that they can go download that customer story prompt worksheet from the episode
Cara Taylor Swift 32:28
page for this episode. Okay, so just as a reminder, the takeaways the big three for this week are your customer experiences, what sets you apart and makes you the choice for your target market. It’s got to be unique, it’s got to be brand aligned, and it’s got to be dependable. Number two customer experience is in the details, the small things that create a wow moment for our customers, you need to be looking for that magic. How do you bring the magic and the customer experience should align and elevate at each step of the customer journey. So if you’re thinking about those three with your animal, equine or pet based business and how you can bring that experience you guys are on the right track. Thanks for joining us today.
Kimberly Beer 33:06
Thank you for watching. See you guys around social media. Have a great week.
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