Using the Concept of G.L.U.E. To Differentiate your Customer Experience

Portions of this post were featured originally as a guest post on 360Connext:

Gartner released research reinforced that 89% of companies will compete mainly on the customer experience they provide. To demonstrate how the experience has grown in importance, just five years ago that number was 34%.

The challenge for today’s business is how to differentiate the experience they provide and stand out in a sea of sameness. The ultimate goal is to win customers and maximize their lifetime value. Winning is no longer defined by merely acquisition. In the words of Peter Shankman, “Take care of the customers you have, and they’ll bring you the customers you want.”

Photo Credit: Slideshare

Photo Credit: Slideshare

Referrals are like gold. A referred customer can spend up to two-times that of a regular customer over their lifetime. And because they’ve been referred, they are more apt to refer you to their friends, up to twice the amount of friends. Winning is about cultivating loyal customers that become advocates for your business.

Moving the Needle

According to Bain’s Net Promoter, these customers are labeled as promoters. A few years ago I had the chance to speak with Fred Reicheld about how companies can gain more promoters, thereby improving their Net Promoter Score (NPS). Fred advised that there are two ways to increase your Net Promoter Score:

  1. Eliminate bad profits – Get rid of the fees and charges that annoy customers.
  2. Frugal wow – Do the small things that can improve the customer experience.

Ready to improve the customer experience with G.L.U.E?

The idea of doing the small things is embodied in a concept called G.L.U.E. Glue is an acronym for Giving Little Unexpected Extras. Similar to the concept of microinteractions, these little things speak volumes to the customer about how much the company cares about its customers.

G is for Giving

The idea of giving is to go beyond the transaction to honor the relationship. It’s the little plus that show that you value the customer and their business.

EXAMPLE: Doubletree Hotels by Hilton and their chocolate chip cookie. Check in at any Doubletree around the world and you’ll receive a warm chocolate chip cookie at reception. It’s a signature extra by the hotel. Since the mid 1980’s, Doubletree has given away over 300 million chocolate chip cookies. It’s that little something added that makes a strong first impression.

L is for Little

It doesn’t have to be something big. Many times it’s the gesture that makes the difference.

EXAMPLE: Izzy’s Ice Cream and the Izzy. When you buy a scoop of ice cream at Izzy’s in St. Paul, MN, you get to pick another flavor for free. This little miniscoop on top is called the Izzy.

U is for Unexpected

If you can surprise a customer by doing something unexpected, you will trigger an emotional response. That emotional response causes our brains to flood our system with dopamine. Dopamine is literally the post-it note for our memory. And when something becomes memorable, it almost always becomes talkable.

EXAMPLESafelite. If you have a crack in your windshield, Safelite will come to your home or office to repair the crack. The technician places this interesting looking device onto your windshield. The device drills into the crack and places an epoxy resin inside. It takes 10 minutes for the epoxy to harden.

During this time the technician goes back to their vehicle and retrieves glass cleaner and a vacuum. They then proceed to clean the interior of your car and all of your glass. When you come out to inspect the work, not only does your cracked windshield look brand new, but your car looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor.

E is for Extra

Do the little extra. Go beyond just equal to give a little more. This is extremely important when you make a mistake in business. Everyone makes mistakes, its how you deal with it that makes the difference.

EXAMPLE Nurse Next Door. Nurse Next Door is a home health care provider. They send nurses and aides into people’s homes. When they make a mistake, Nurse Next Door sends a handwritten note of apology accompanied with a freshly baked apple pie. It is literally a humble pie.

Each year they spend up to $2,000 with a local vendor. They know that investment helps save the company $100,000 a year in lost sales. In addition, it eliminates a ton of bad word of mouth that might affect future business.

How are you improving the customer experience by doing a little more to exceed expectations? Are you ready to Give Little Unexpected Extras?

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – here is my TEDx Douglasville talk about rethinking business with the power of GLUE: