Teaching Brands to Master “How to Wow” in Customer Experience
This week, we welcome Adrian Swinscoe to the Digitally Irresistible podcast. Adrian is a prolific writer, blogger, podcaster, and the author of four books about customer experience.
Adrian works with companies looking for cost-effective ways to improve business and team performance, find new customers, and keep their existing ones. He and his associates focus on helping clients improve their customer service, customer experience, client experience, and business.
His work results in increased profits in sales, higher productivity, increased word of mouth, improved service, and an overall increase in the customer and employee experience.
On this episode, we discuss the eight sections of his first book, “How to Wow, 68 Effortless Ways to Make Every Customer Experience Amazing.”
A Guide to Help People Chart Their Brand’s Own Path to Greatness
Fifteen years ago, Adrian recognized an abundance of opportunities to improve customer service, including staying out of the way of employees who do their best to treat customers well.
He started writing, and writing, and writing (and podcasting) about it: articles, blog posts, a column for Forbes, and four books. Companies seek his help in building amazing customer and employee experiences.
Adrian describes himself as “an advisor, speaker, and bestselling author on customer service, experience, and engagement.” He helps brands “craft their own level of greatness and deliver their own level of greatness and engagement to their customers.”
Unpacking “How to Wow”
In “How to Wow,” originally published in 2008, Adrian organized 68 effortless ways to wow into eight sections.
The first five sections—Attract, Engage, Serve, Keep, and Refer—are all external, customer-facing actions brands can take. The second three sections—Communicate, Motivate, and Lead—are internal, employee-facing actions.
On this episode we discuss these eight sections. As you’ll discover, each section leads right into the next.
Adrian’s experiences as a consumer, researcher, and analyst taught him that people don’t like to be “sold to.” He was convinced that there must be better ways to attract people than overt selling. He sought more empathetic and sustainable methods to attract people. Ways that are more appealing to the people you’re trying to attract so that they’re more receptive to your message.
And once you’ve attracted people, then you can…
To engage people in a sustainable way, you have to step back and take a look at your relationships. In each case, ask where is this relationship now and where is it going?
Understanding your relationships is the first step to knowing what interests the people you attract. Knowing what interests them enables you to treat them with respect and empathy, and to balance two very different dynamics: making yourself interesting and proving you’re interested in them.
Knowing what interests them allows you to…
Service goes beyond customer service. It’s about being proactive in service to people across the business.
How do I serve you? How do I serve you as a marketer? How do I serve you as a salesperson? How do I serve you as a support rep?
Think about different ways to help the customer achieve their goals. When serving people is part of the foundation of who you are, you can build relationships that mean more than sending them a thank you gift after they’ve bought something from you.
Strong relationships are relationships you can…
Adrian doesn’t use the word loyalty because he thinks loyalty is a product of what you do.
Loyalty programs, rewards, and special discounts can help, but keeping customers is about the fundamentals of what we do.
Keeping is about how you value the relationship. Can you give people access to different things? Can you make them successful? Can you make them feel like they belong?
When both sides value a relationship, it’s only natural to ask your customer to…
If you’ve gone through the earlier steps, have built strong foundations for your relationships, and continually build on those relationships, then people may be ready to become an advocate for you.
The key is advocacy doesn’t happen by accident. Sometimes you have to help people be an advocate. Sometimes you have to do something as simple as just asking them. And too many companies don’t ask for a referral.
Also, bear in mind that sometimes they don’t know how to refer. So, think about their situation and make it easy for them. That can be a powerful way to start driving a stream of referrals back into your business and building your community of relationships.
Now, let’s move from the external ways to the internal…
This section is about how we communicate with our customers, how we take what they tell us—particularly around surveys and feedback and customer voice—and how we take it into our business. How do we act on it? How do we then communicate back to customers and tell them, “this is what we’re doing”?
Again, this is all in service of building relationships, showing people, “We value what you say. We are listening to what you say. We are thinking about what you say,” and “We are acting on what you say.”
Still, customer survey fatigue is a real thing, and we have to understand that somebody giving us feedback is a gift. We have to make sure we respect their time and make taking a survey easy for them. Make sure they understand that if they give us this feedback, we’ll value it and act on it.
For many companies, the question is how. How do we connect with our customers? How do we listen to them? How do we act on what they tell us?
They’ve learned that it takes engaged employees to deliver exceptional service, so we…
Motivate and Lead are two sides of the same coin: how do we build a culture of highly engaged employees who truly value customer relationships? This culture empowers people, supports people, and enables people to be the best versions of themselves in service of the greater mission to serve their customers.
Why the same coin? Because how effectively we motivate employees is influenced by how well we…
Sometimes leaders within companies need to do things differently in order to enable, support, motivate, and inspire their employees to do a great job and go that extra mile in service of their customers. That may require them to change their thinking, to do things differently, to lead by example.
Adrian loves the idea that comes from the old Toyota management system, where managers and leaders would do Gemba walks (Japanese for “actual place” walks). They’d walk the factory floor to understand the work, see processes in action, ask questions, and learn how things were being done.
He also says you can learn a lot about a company by their Terms and Conditions page on their website. Many are written so only a lawyer can understand them. Some companies have rewritten them in plain language so all their customers can understand.
Make Improvements Incrementally
Trying to improve all aspects of customer and employee experience at once can be a great challenge. Adrian cites a concept known as the aggregation of marginal gains, which was popularized by Dave Brailsford, who became performance director for British Cycling in 2003. The idea is that if you execute a series of marginal gains of only 1%, the aggregate of those small gains over time will equal a major gain.
What Adrian Does for Fun
If you agree with me that Adrian is a rock star, you may be right. In his spare time, Adrian likes to go rock or boulder climbing—indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather. In fact, after recording this podcast with me, Adrian headed to a nearby boulder gym. Rock on, Adrian.
To learn more about Adrian and his work, you’ll find him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and his website, www.adrianswinscoe.com. Adrian also recommends looking him up on your favorite search engine, as there aren’t many people named Adrian Swinscoe.