In the age of infinite likes and shares, how do you get the customer experience right?

In 2009, Canadian musician Dave Carroll boarded a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Omaha, checking his guitar alongside the rest of his luggage. Along the way, his guitar case was damaged and his $3500 guitar was snapped at the neck. Dave pursued compensation with United. After his claims were dismissed, he wrote a song about his experience, called it ‘United Breaks Guitars’ and uploaded it to Youtube.

Within 24 hours the song had been viewed 150,000 times. A month later, almost 5 million times. Ten years on, Dave’s song has been shown in documentaries, talked about on chat shows, written up in a book and trended on Twitter. The Youtube tally now stands at just shy of 20 million views. #UnitedBreaksGuitars trended on Twitter again in 2017, when passengers filmed the airline forcefully removing a person from a flight. It used to be true that a happy customer will tell one person about a great experience, and seven or eight people about a poor experience. In today’s digital age, Dave’s story is proof that there are no limits when it comes to sharing good and bad customer experiences.

While this might seem daunting, the rewards are there for any business that gets the experience right. In financial services, helping clients to reach their financial goals is a huge opportunity to create an unforgettable customer experience. In the age of infinite likes and shares, how do you get the customer experience right?

Technology can help

We already know investing in the right technology can help the market perform better, but what about your client management technology?

A good CRM can deepen your customer relationships and help unlock real insight into your best, and worst, customers. One member of our mortgage software team tells the story about pitching for a big client account. The pitch deck included a case study about a woman called Doris, and how she had used our software in her business. At an earlier pitch, the client had mentioned that his wife’s name was Judith, and our sales guy had made a note of this information. On the day of the presentation, he changed the name of the case study from Doris to Judith - a simple change that helped show the client we were listening and taking notice of him and his business.

Ask for feedback

Technology can also be a great way to aggregate information and flag problems getting in the way of delivering exceptional service. When a client calls with a software query, our client services team raise a ticket to record and address the problem. Lots of tickets for the same issue tell us pretty clear we have a problem to fix.

Feedback is the river of gold that should run through every development cycle and every customer experience.

This type of feedback, or in fact any type of feedback (even Dave Carroll’s protest song), can be an excellent way of shaping the next stage of customer experiences. To get started, consider introducing an NPS tracker - or net promoter score. Devised in 2003 by consultancy Bain & Company, NPS measures how likely someone is to recommend your company to their friends or family. A score of nine or ten signifies a loyal, enthusiastic ‘promoter’. Anything else shows either a neutral observer or an unhappy customer. A strong NPS score should correlate with a stronger performing business. A poor one shows you have work to do.

Feedback is the river of gold that should run through every development cycle and every customer experience. Track it and record it properly, and you’ll have all of the insight you need to continue to deliver the service your clients expect.

Start a community

Identifying your advocates, and finding a place for them to share their knowledge and experience can also be really powerful. Design software company Adobe runs a huge online community for designers and artists everywhere to swap knowledge, work, software tips and Adobe hacks. Rather than turn to social media to vent, a frustrated user can jump on the community, ask a question and chances are, another user will help them out. We’re taking the same approach with our Iress Community, bringing users across the world together in one place to build knowledge, share insight and get the best from our software.

Add a little magic

Finally, there’s no getting around the fact that great service is really about great people. No matter how good the technology, or how bad the customer experience, if you have people in your business who know how to put the customer in the middle, you’re well on your way. United Airlines didn’t get into a jam because they broke a guitar, they got into a jam because the right people didn’t care. Getting that bit right can be just as powerful as a customer talking about the wrong experience. The proof is Dave Carroll’s story: shortly after he wrote his song, Taylors Music came to the rescue with two brand new guitars. The result? A bucket load of likes, hearts, retweets and shares, and one happy customer for life.

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