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Beyond the Conference Room Solution

December 04, 2013

How to Wow Customers Every Time

The following article appeared in the November 8 edition of Inc.com.


Sure the mechanics of your products matter.  But how do you  make your customers feel.  Nail that question and you'll win them over for good. You already know that improving existing products and dreaming up new ones is key to any innovation strategy. But if that's the extent of your efforts, you're missing a key element. Your customer experience deserves just as much of your creative juices. 

Brian Klapper, president and founding partner of The Klapper Institute, offers this advice in the Harvard Business Review: "In your next ideation session, put the product or service on the backburner, and instead consider how you can improve each customer touch point."

Klapper says every interaction with your product should make customers feel something--like they just received a gift. Consider Apple products. They come in elegant, luxurious packaging. The plug-and-play technology gives the impression the products are easy to use, right out of the box.

It doesn't matter if you make knickknacks, food, or gadgets, your customers should feel happy as soon as they touch your product or receive your service.

Below, read three ways to innovate your customer experience:

Send the right message.

The most important moment is when customers receive your product. Is it easy to open the packaging? Is your packaging recyclable? What's the message you want customers to feel? Klapper points to the Kindle, which ships in an environmentally-friendly, but still functional, package.

Keep up the interaction.

You don't want customers to buy your product or service and then disappear. You want to create a community, an ongoing interaction--and that requires knowing what your customers are saying. Klapper says Gatorade's marketing team has a "Mission Control Center," which is a room full of monitors and dashboards used to track, analyze, and partake in social media conversations.

Make repairs and returns easy.

Apple's Genius Bar makes it easy for customers to come in and fix their broken iPhones, iPads, and computers. Zappos and Warby Parker both have a free return policy, which helps customers send back products that don't fit. Repairs and returns must be easy. If you're happy to take a customer's money, you must be happy to take their complaints. Don't make your customers stick with a product that's less than perfect. If you do, they won't come back.

Read more recent articles by Will Yakowicz:
CEOs: Why You Should Quit While You're Ahead
The Future of E-Commerce: Big, Complex Transactions Made Easy
How to Lead While Your Company Is Going Under
VC: Please Don't Try to Build a Billion-Dollar Company

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"When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting I go ahead of it and make trial after trial until it comes." - Thomas A. Edison

Let’s start with an explanation of the title, Beyond The Conference Room Solution. In all of my workshops and in many of my lectures, I refer to the phrase, The Conference Room Solution as a far too common approach used by organizations use to solve many of their most challenging issues.

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