What Are The Three Pillars Of Customer Experience?


Jeff Giagnocavo is the co-owner of Gardner’s Mattress & More and has a passion for small business success on Main Street.

It’s well known that a company focused on stellar customer experience often wins the customer, earns market share and finds their referrals grow with ease. To do this, businesses must give customers a story to behold and be told.

A story to behold means you give customers an incredible experience in the store and at home that is unlike any other big-ticket purchase they have made. Seek to raise the bar above all others, not just among competitors, but among all others your customers may spend their money with.

A story to be told means your customer is equipped with the story to tell their friends, family and co-workers about their experience.

Long ago, I learned this important lesson: If you wish to establish a great customer experience, work to turn the customer into a fan (by giving you a five-star review) and then into a promoter who refers often. It’s important to have proper pillars supporting this experience.

All too often, I’ve found these pillars reside internally in your company; they guide your culture and internal meetings, which is fine, but these pillars can be both internal and external. These pillars are your purpose, your mission and your values.

Purpose

A company’s purpose should be the guidepost and measuring stick by which all communications, actions and efforts are measured. You’ll know you’re dialed in on your purpose when the mission supports its calling, and the values dictate actions and direct the effort of the mission.

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How can you communicate your purpose in a connective customer-facing way? How can you do this even if you don’t make the sale, or even when it costs you money to do so, but you still help the customer anyway? For example, we happily mail free copies of our book locally to those who ask for them.

To lock in on your purpose, ensure it first fulfills the ultimate goal of your customers and that you can deliver on it. When you establish your purpose, be ready to just serve the community that supports your business—even if, on the surface, your business doesn’t directly benefit.

Mission

A clear purpose will never have an impact without a clear mission to support its goal. Therefore, your mission should have a clear benefit or power statement that resonates with your customers and clearly speaks to them.

But more importantly, your mission should challenge your team to differentiate the experiences they have with each other and with customers. When working with your team, ask them where they see points of differentiation they can own and make changes with. This gives them ownership, and they then control the mission.

For example, I’ve made it a mission to help guide not only my team but our industry to do better. Our purpose assures our mission stays on course—we can’t unlock true potential or happiness if we are the same bad operators found elsewhere, just selling a mattress at a cheap price.

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Values

A great first step to identifying your own company values is to ask what actions and qualities are needed daily to support the mission to uphold the purpose of your company. Some might choose an acronym rooted in the purpose and mission to identify and align your values. I’d suggest you get them all on the table.

You might align values by department operations, sales, fulfillment and C-suite just so long as all departmental values support the mission and purpose. Mission and purpose don’t change across departments, but how we support each other often does.

Your values list will likely have commonalities, so look to whittle down your list to 4-7 values. Remember, your values, along with your mission and purpose, should become muscle memory for everyone.

As a leader, it’s on you to guide the adoption of the values. This is where your team will truly be all pulling together. So be sure to get input and feedback as you mold your values into muscle memory for everyone. Maybe tackle one value at a time, and focus on one department or issue, which can better drive the mission and purpose forward through the belief in the values set forth and agreed on.

A selfless and clear purpose guided by the mission, with values to support the mission, can win more customers, but you might be asking what’s the connection to the customer and how they speak about your business and refer others to it.

Objectively, five-star reviews are recognized by potential customers. When researching an upcoming purchase, they see the number of reviews and the aggregated rating, and they often feel good that this is an objective point of measurement in the shopping process.

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But what happens next enters the world of subjectivity: the words your customer uses to speak about your store and their experience with you.

And while I’m not suggesting mind or thought control here, I am suggesting that you always give your customer their story to behold—an experience so amazing they always remember it. So when the opportunity to refer comes up, they tell the experience just the way you would tell it to the prospective customer.

Your purpose, mission and values, when communicated publicly, are your best talking points. These are things you would say to customers anyway if you were in front of them, so why hide them internally?

It’s known that sales, productivity and profits grow when the team internally is all pulling in the same direction, so why not have your customers pulling with you? What would happen to your business if you and your customers were pulling in the same direction?

After all, they have the fuel—their word, reputation and money—to propel your business forward.

Create a culture where your team is all in on the purpose, mission and values, and display this publicly with actions to back up the words and you’ll likely deliver amazing experiences, garner more reviews and greatly increase referral business.


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