By Katie Mientka

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”  

Maya Angelou 

Now, when it comes to their homes, you can be sure that people will, in fact, remember what you said (especially your quote!) and what you did (especially on cold, windy days when they are safe, warm, and comfortable). They look at and interact with your work every day. But what really separates you from the competition, what keeps customers coming back, what makes them refer their friends and family, is how you made them feel. The customer experience is everything. 

What Is Customer Experience – And Why Does It Matter?

Your customers interact with you through a variety of touchpoints: your website, your Yelp or Angie’s List reviews, your Facebook and Instagram profiles, your showroom, your office, your people in the field, your signage, work vehicles, and marketing assets.

“Customer experience” refers to the impression that they have of your brand throughout each step of their journey. This encompasses everything from “I have a problem/need/challenge” to “I found the professional/company to solve it” to – ideally – “I’m going to refer everyone because this was the best experience!”

Here’s why customer experience, or CX if you want to add another acronym to your life, matters:

  • Customer experience has overtaken price and product as the key brand differentiator.
  • 86% of customers will pay more for a better experience.
  • 72% of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people.
  • 13% of unhappy customers will share an experience with 15 or more people!
  • Only 1 in 26 dissatisfied customers actually make the effort to complain. This is not good news: the rest just leave. (In other words, the absence of negative feedback is not always a positive.)

Perhaps the most telling statistic of all: 90% of businesses compete mainly on customer experience.

Delivering an Exceptional Customer Experience

If you are focused on what you do and how you do it, great! Mastering your craft and honing your skills is critical to maintaining that competitive edge. But also ask yourself key questions:

  • How does your product/service make people feel?
  • How do they experience your process?
  • What makes the experience memorable?

The G&G Custom Homes team, for example, builds stunning homes – and strong relationships. Owner Joe Garcia limits the number of houses he builds each year so that he can focus 100% on his clients. The service is personalized, one-on-one, and designed to minimize and eliminate the stresses of the average build. Clients feel valued, heard, and empowered as they go through this process.

How do you improve your customer experience? We’ve identified best practices to guide you:

Make the Process Knowable

When people are going through any type of home improvement, renovation, or build process, they typically feel as if they’re in over their head. It can be overwhelming, intimidating, and frustrating. It is important that you make the process as transparent as possible. One incredibly effective way to do this: feature helpful, educational resources on your website. Whether it’s a how-to post on selecting the right flooring for your home or a side-by-side comparison of high-performance windows, you can shine a light on the process and empower customers to proceed with confidence.

Offer Helpful Tools

When you deliver a great customer experience, they have no need to go elsewhere for information, guidance, or support. Tools, such as budget calculators, further engage them in your process and reinforces the message that you are the solution for which they have been searching.

G&G, for example, utilizes a platform called BuilderTrend that allows clients to check on the progress of their project, track their budget, categorize expenses, view and approve change orders, access and share photos, and message their team anytime, anywhere. This is over and above, and it creates a positive, streamlined experience.

Make Their Lives Easier

If you can do anything to deliver greater convenience and ease, do it! ACo, for example, promises a “worry-free kitchen, bath, or flooring renovation that allows homeowners to love where they live.” Customers will even love the process! One way that ACo eliminates worry is to offer virtual consultations. In the age of COVID-19, putting client’s minds at ease and showing that you care about their health and comfort is essential. Of course, it is also convenient and, in many cases, preferable for those juggling busy schedules!

Create a Cohesive Presence

As mentioned, customers interact with your company across a variety of touchpoints. It is imperative that you maintain a cohesive, engaging brand presence. For a business like Franklin Window & Door, this means offering a beautiful, helpful website that reflects the quality and value of the brand; it means having a consistent presence at the Indiana Design Center; it means inviting customers into their impressive showroom; it means showing up on the job with the same sense of professionalism that customers have already placed their trust in.

All of these “presences” should be seamless, so customers can move through them and enjoy consistent – and consistently exceptional – experiences.

Build on Your Customer Experience Strategy

Your customers will certainly remember the services you have performed and the products you have delivered. When they remember how you made them feel, they will return to you for solutions; they will refer their friends, family, and colleagues; and they will become your best marketing asset!