Combining the smart and heart of your business turns customer experiences from good to great.

I was impressed. Although I had reserved the room at Hotel Erwin through an aggregator booking site, the hotel had followed up with an email. In my reply, I shared that we were celebrating our 10th Anniversary. A warm Happy Anniversary welcome and a cold bottle of bubbly with a personalized card were waiting in the room.

A few simple steps created a memorable customer experience where my husband and I felt appreciated and valued. The more customers feel valued in your business, the more likely they are to be loyal. Loyal customers mean more purchases, higher referral rates, and profitable long-term relationships.

The actions at this hotel were a great example of joining the smart and the heart in business for powerful results.

Business leaders know how important customer experience is for a company’s growth. In the realm of customer success, it’s popular to cite the statistic that it costs 6-7X more money to get a new customer than to retain an existing one.

And yet it’s fascinating to see how many companies miss the mark when it comes to their customer efforts.

To create successful customer initiatives, companies must marry both business systems and an emotional connection to their offer – the smart and heart. And they must be seamlessly integrated. Only then will companies develop deeply loyal customers who spend more, buy faster, and refer like crazy.

Here are some of the ways companies go astray with their customer success efforts:

Failing to capture the right customer data.

The hotel proactively reached out to ask about our travel details and the purpose of our stay. The information they gathered was personal and relevant.

While most companies capture some customer data, too often, they fail to capture the right information that leads to a more personal connection with customers. Will the information you capture enable you to take proactive, retention-oriented action down the road? Are you getting information that takes you beyond the nuts and bolts of the business, and into the realm of relationship building?

Without key data, you won’t have the tools to create memorable customer experiences.

Capturing the right data but failing to retrieve the information and act when it counts.

The hotel cleared the first hurdle by reaching out proactively to capture personal and actionable information about our stay. Now consider all the elements that had to fire effectively and in the right moment as we checked in.

The computer had to prompt the clerk effectively to wish us a Happy Anniversary as we checked in. The hotel had to pre-assign our room so the bubble could be waiting for us. The card had to be written, signed and delivered to the housekeeping team who, in turn, had to deliver the bottle to our room at the right time. When we checked in the bottle was resting in a cold pillow of ice – not a lukewarm puddle of water. All that required coordinated systems to trigger efficiently.

Companies need detailed, action-oriented systems to deliver the timely experiences that drive retention.

Leadership and management to reinforce the heart.
Hotel Erwin only had their policies in place because management prioritized customer experience. Companies must make considered decisions at the top tiers of leadership to activate heart-oriented, smart customer systems. But these systems are only successful when a culture of service is managed and reinforced consistently, at every level of the company.

Too often, people in the C-suite create systems that are great on paper but fail to take root because they lack the day-to-day management needed to implement effectively.

Activating meaningful customer experiences requires consistent effort that’s reinforced by visionary leadership and ongoing management on the ground. Both are necessary for success.

To Recap

To get to the emotional core of making customers feel seen, heard and valued, companies need systems and processes that develop loyal customers. And loyalty is profitable.

To build desirable long-term customer relationships, companies need three things

  • Capture the right information;
  • Implement systems that turn information into easy-to-access, timely action; and
  • Combine inspired leadership with ongoing management to reinforce the company’s goals for the customer success system.

When companies are all heart, they miss opportunities by lacking the data and systems to activate good intentions consistently and efficiently.

When they’re all smart, they fail to incorporate sincere personal connection to cement loyalty.

Successful customer experience requires seamless integration of both smart and heart.

To maximize customer success initiatives, companies must activate both the heart and the smart, working in tandem to create long-term loyal customers.

This article first appeared in Inside Indiana Business