CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: Your Business Needs an Easy Button

Many studies have revealed that customers who have a problem resolved to their satisfaction are more loyal than customers who’ve never had a problem at all.

The 2011 Customer Experience Impact (CEI) Report revealed that 79% of consumers who shared complaints about poor customer experience online were ignored by the company. The 21% remaining who did get a response shared a positive experience.

A company that is unafraid of facing complaints tends to receive fewer of them, and they get extra points in the customer’s mind for being willing to take the heat. In a strange way a complaint is like a compliment; the customer cares about your company or product enough to say something rather than close the door behind them as they exit the relationship.

Does your company have an “Easy” button? Do you hide your complaint department or is it out in front for all customers to easily access and engage with?

 

An “Easy Button” Customer Experience

I recently had a friend share a great customer experience story about a company that had a button that so “easy” to use, she almost felt guilty with the result when it was all over. Here is her story…

‘Last week my sweet son pulled off the outer skin on my OtterBox® iPhone case and ripped it into a few pieces. Since I was already in Wal-Mart I immediately headed to the electronics department to purchase a new skin. To my disappointment I could only locate the complete set. I visited two additional stores in town and kept coming up empty handed time after time. My final stop was Radio Shack. As I proceeded to tell my story for the 3rd time, I heard a young man at the register yell out, “Have you called OtterBox?” I have to admit that it never crossed my mind to call the manufacturer since the case was 2 years old and the damage was caused by my child. He informed me that if I simply called OtterBox they would replace the case for free — no questions asked. It couldn’t be that easy — nothing is that easy!  Being the skeptic I am, I returned home and immediately began to search online reviews related to OtterBox replacement parts and warranty. This is the one that gave me the confidence to contact the manufacturer:

I’ve broken over a dozen holsters on my Defenders over the years. OtterBox has offered to send me up to 3 holsters at a time (so I’m not without one when I break the replacement), all free of charge. I’ve also contacted them when they didn’t have just the holsters in stock, so they sent over an entire retail pack case instead. They really are awesome! I am forever loyal!

At this point I called OtterBox. The conversation took less than 10 minutes.  They asked:

  1. What color and style OtterBox did you purchase?
  2. When did you purchase it?
  3. What is your address?

Then they told me I would receive my replacement piece within 3 days. (Note: I received it in two days!) No charge, no proof of purchase necessary — it was that easy!

As we all know from our own experience, people do business with companies that make the encounter an easy and pleasurable one.  It just makes sense. Naturally then, simplifying the customer interaction to make it as pleasant and effortless as possible is worth the undertaking.

 

Does Your Company Have an “Easy Button?”

Make your company easier to do business with. That sounds simple doesn’t it? Who would make their company harder to do business with? Yet you can browse thousands of negative customer ratings and reviews and over and over again it comes down to a difficult process, bad customer experience, or simply ignoring the problem. For many customers it takes too long to get the problem resolved, which can damage a customer’s experience and a company’s reputation.

Today we see many apartment communities in markets where the product and services are very similar and often the only difference between them is the customer service and customer experience. How can you make your community stand out from the rest?

5 things to consider:

  1. Leasing Process: When was the last time you reviewed your leasing process (before, during and after) from your customers’ perspective. Every stage of the leasing and move-in process is identifiable and has desired customer outcomes.  Review these cycles.  Maybe even draw it out in a chart or diagram so you fully understand how people do business with you. This process is often referred to as Journey Mapping. These are the places that you touch your customers—the touch points.
  2. Look for Gaps: Are there gaps in the leasing and resident process where customers can get frustrated or bored with your product and service? Each step is an opportunity to improve or streamline how you and your customers interact.  When you review each step, look for ways to make it easier for customers to get what they want and need.  The more simple the steps, the easier it will be to lease and renew residents.
  3. Easy Access: Do you make it easy for prospective residents to find information about your company, apartment community, product and services? There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to locate a telephone number on a website. Yes, people do still like to talk to a human being, so make it easy to locate your number — don’t hide it.  Look through the customer’s lens and see how easy (or difficult) it is to access all of the different areas they will need before, during and after they lease.
  4. Empower the Front line:  If a customer does have a problem, is there a means of conflict resolution that is easily accessible to them? Do you empower your onsite employees to make decisions or do they have to rely on someone in another office to make most decisions for them? Do they understand their boundaries? Is there a high degree of reliability?
  5. Ask for Feedback:  Are you talking to your residents and asking their opinions on how you can improve the relationship?  You may be surprised to find that they appreciate your interest in them and that you value their opinion. How about prospective residents — including ones who chose not to lease with you, or residents who decided not to renew? Feedback — verbal and from resident surveys and apartment reviews — from all of these different perspectives will begin to reveal how easy or how difficult it is to do business with your company.

Let’s face it, customers value their time and want everything to be as easy and quick as possible. Don’t make it tough on them! After all, customers have the choice of whether or not to do business with you.  Simplifying the interaction makes their choice easier.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

-Maria Lawson

 

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