Preempting Customers' Needs

Customer Loyalty
Customer Experience
Forward-thinking companies preempt customers' needs in order to improve the experience.

Customers have high expectations. Not only do they expect the brands they do business with to provide them with the best products and service, but they want companies to go above and beyond the line of duty and really Wow them with a fantastic experience.The most forward-thinking companies are finding ways to give added value to their most loyal customers. Airlines and hotels have long been rewarding these loyal customers through points-based systems, and this system seems to have become ingrained in the way many companies do business.

But is this enough? Or should organizations be finding novel ways to improve the customer experience? Sometimes it's the little things that will make a difference and leave a good impression in customers' minds, allowing them to have a good feeling about the company.

This past weekend I popped into Bed, Bath, and Beyond on Manhattan's Upper East Side. As you expect from a summer day, it was extremely hot and humid, leaving many people going about their day feeling uncomfortable. Next to the front door, the store had water coolers and disposable cups for customers to help themselves. On the floor next to the table were two bowls with water for pets.

Such a measure must not have cost Bed, Bath, and Beyond much. But it leaves a good impression in customers' minds. It shows that this is a company that's sensitive to customers' needs, even ones that don't have a direct connection to what it's selling.
I've been to Bed, Bath, and Beyond many times and have never had anything to complain about. In fact, I've always felt the experience was good. But it took a small gesture to turn a good experience into something that I'll remember and talk about.

Word of mouth has always had an important impact on organizations' success. In today's social media-heavy world, a good impression is even more important. More organizations should think of small gestures that will help improve the impression customers have of them.