By Shep Hyken
I love hanging around smart people, and my friend Todd Hartley is one of the very smartest.
He runs WireBuzz, an agency that uses videos to help their clients sell and service their customers, clients, guests, etc.
He was interviewing me for his podcast and used the phrase, “ritualize the experience.” He used it in passing, but I realized this is a rock-solid concept that is appropriate for everyone in any company and any industry. I wrote those three words down so I wouldn’t forget them and then thought about them for the next few hours.
Ritualizing the experience starts by understanding the process around your customer’s experience. This is no different from creating a process or workflow for anything you want to achieve in business. You most likely have a process for paying an invoice. If you have a new vendor, you probably have a process to set them up in your system. There’s a process for just about everything you do in business, and that includes the customer experience.
Even if you haven’t formalized it yet—and after reading this, I hope you will—your process for customer experience is simply the way (or many ways) your customers do business with you. The first time they do business with you may be different than subsequent times. The way they get support is a journey unto itself. Most people would start with a journey mapping exercise to get an understanding of the different ways your customers interact with you. Many of you have done this, but let’s go a step further.
The word ritualizing is a powerful word. When you tie it to customer experience, you’re taking something that’s part of the customer experience—something very positive that you want to happen all the time—and ritualizingit. In other words, you are making sure it happens every time, no matter what.
For example, there is a jewelry store where I bought my wife a gift. Every time I walk in the store, they ask me if I want some bottled water or a glass of wine. They always make this offer. That’s the first thing they do—always—and it helps set the tone for what’s to follow. It is one of their rituals.
Some of you may be familiar with the story of my taxi driver in Dallas. On the way to the airport he asked if I wanted to see the famous fountain at Los Colinas on the way. Reluctantly I said, “Yes,” and I’m glad I did. He was passionate and shared some interesting information about this Dallas landmark. Later, I asked him how often he asks his customers if they want to see the fountain. His response was, “Every time.”
What special moment in your customer’s experience is worth ritualizing? Meet with your team and come up with different points in your customer’s journey where you want something to always happen—something you don’t want to leave up to chance. Then create the process and training that supports this ritual and make it happen every time.