Like most people I love ice cream. This week I enjoyed what many regard as the best ice cream there is. Gelato Messina. It’s quite an experience. The ice cream is unbelievable (you really do have to try it to believe it), but the delicious gelato is only a part of the overall ‘Experience’. In the middle of winter Messina has people lining up around the corner wearing ski hats and scarfs to keep warm while they wait for their ice cream. And no one seems to mind waiting. The customer service is exceptional, however Messina serve up more than just ice cream and something that makes it quite clear that the customer experience extends far beyond customer service.
If you didn’t know better you could be forgiven for thinking that the line was for an über cool nightclub. World class underground House music is pumping from the speakers and there is a doorman looking after the crowd outside. Unlike a nightclub doorman though, he is offering free gelato taste tests to help ease the decision making process once inside.
Even if you can’t make it to Surry Hills or Darlinghurst on a chilli winters night, the customer experience extends across the globe via their popular Facebook page. Messina’s Facebook audience enjoys (amongst other things) a personalized level of social media customer service that makes them feel like they are part of the brand. I guess you get the idea. Messina is nailing their customer experience.
Forrester Research’s study ‘The State Of Customer Experience Management‘ suggests that over 90 percent of companies rate customer experience as a top priority moving ahead.
So what separates customer experience from customer service and what can your business do to improve your customer experience?
Offer remarkable customer service
It goes without saying that remarkable customer service should be part of your business plan. However ticking that box won’t complete the whole picture. Making sure people get great service at the counter is expected. Coordinating professional security staff to hand feed them ice cream while they’re waiting… That’s a customer experience.
Know your market
If you haven’t clearly defined your target market you can’t expect them to make a connection with your brand. That connection is worth more than any single or repeat transaction. It should be creating brand advocacy and a positive sentiment for your business.
Make your vision clear
Knowing your market is important. However there is nothing more important than your cause and your mission. Your best customers won’t be spending up big and recommending you because you want to make money. It will be because they believe in why you are doing what you do.
Serve up The whole kit and caboodle
The customer experience extends far beyond customer service. It even represents an invaluable form of influence marketing. Many people setting up an ice cream business might not even consider that abstract art, cutting edge House music and a loyal Facebook community could influence people to buy ice cream. But it is all of these things combined with remarkable customer service that define the customer experience at Messina.
I know what you’re thinking ~ what do they put in that ice cream? The gelato is amazing. So is the customer service. But at the end of the day (which is usually after 11pm for Gelato Messina) it is much more about the whole experience.
The experience that you provide for your customers has never been more important. It won’t only contribute to sales and repeat business. It will now determine how your brand is perceived and why people will do business with you.
We can’t expect to leave the customer experience up to the customer service team. Everyone in the business helps form the customer experience. Let’s make it an exceptional one. If we get it right, everyone wins. I hope this helps inspire the kind of experience that will set your business apart. Please consider sharing this post to help improve customer experiences and improve the way we do business with each other. Thanks for reading and sharing.