How to Deliver A Great Customer Experience If Your Product Sucks

By: Sofie De Beule

March 25, 2016

There are only so many things your company can do to excel at everything. Let’s face it, it’s virtually impossible to outperform your competitors on every single aspect of your business, and your product can easily be one of areas where you fall short.

But even if your product has problems, you can still build a successful business with loyal customers. It all depends on the way you engage and interact with your customers, the level of customer service you provide, and the overall Customer Experience you deliver.

Invest in those areas where your competitors are clearly falling short. Let’s turn things around: having a great product doesn’t necessarily mean your Customer Experience is great. Companies that are creating winning experiences don’t automatically offer the best product. For example, there might be plenty of deli chains that offer tastier sandwiches served in a more enjoyable atmosphere. Still, you prefer to go to that one place at lunchtime that offers quite the opposite. It’s the little things that make the difference: you never have to queue, you can easily order online, the wifi-connection is great, they have a really appealing customer loyalty system, etc. There’s one thing in which they outsmart all of their competitors and that’s convenience.

A great example of a company using this strategy is Premier Inn, a British budget hotel chain. Premier Inn prides themselves on offering a “really good night sleep” at an affordable rate. Remember those hotel rooms that look really fancy on paper but have the worst beds and give you a serious back ache? Yes, we’ve all had that experience! Premier Inn believes a good night sleep is the most important thing when staying at a hotel. That’s why they invest in beds that are unusually expensive for hotels. But, they cut down on cost in other areas of their business such as hotel personnel. For example, they don’t have staff waiting at the reception desk and use automatic check-in desks instead.

Identify what really matters to your customers. If you acknowledge your business is only human and has its flaws, you will be able to focus on what really matters. The keyword is ‘balance’: you need to have an overview of all the channels of feedback and collect it in just one place so you can really prove which topics your customers are complaining about. That way you can prioritize the things you need to fix. If you don’t have a sense  of which areas in your business your customers are ranting about, how can you ever expect your business to survive in the long run?

Focus on what you can control. It’s exceptionally important for anyone operating in the Customer Experience industry to improve your business in those areas you can have an influence on if you want to truly make a difference. A great example is in the railway industry: railway companies typically depend on a lot of factors (such as other, third party companies) to make sure their trains are running smoothly and on time. Many customers complain and blame the railway company for issues. It’s up to the railway company to invest in those areas that they can control, instead of putting the blame on the third party companies.

We can’t all be Zappos or KLM– companies that offer great products and best-in-class service. The rest of us still struggle in one area or another, and there are many renowned, global brands that have a really strong product but still fail to keep their customers happy.

So, if your product sucks, it isn’t the end of the world (or the end of your business). If you can understand what your customers really want and need and what they’re complaining about, you can make a huge effort in fixing it to keep them coming back.