Can you create memorable customer experiences without breaking the bank?
How do we remember experiences? Do we remember everything about them? What’s so special about the parts that we do remember?
A friend told me about a rather wonderful hotel she stayed at a few years ago. What she remembered the most was the experience they crafted for her birthday. They decorated her room, got her a cake and go the staff to play a guitar and sing for her
That was the most vivid memory she had about her vacation. But surprisingly, when I asked her how much the hotel costs to stay at, she had no recollection whatsoever.
Weird. For most of us, that’s one of the first things that we consider while planning a trip. So how is that one of the things that we remember the least?
And more importantly, what do we remember about our experiences?
The peak-end rule:
Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, introduced the world to the peak-end rule, a cognitive bias that affects how we remember experiences.
Essentially, the rule says that we don’t remember entire experiences. We form memories about experiences based on two factors: the most intense emotion we felt during the experience, and the emotion we felt at the end of that experience.
Sometimes, we even find ourselves remembering experiences far differently than they actually were, simply because our mind creates different memories based on the peak-end rule.
But here’s the important question:
Is creating memorable experiences necessarily an expensive task?
Sure, you can shell out a ridiculous amount of money to create experiences that amaze your customers, but those may not necessarily be the most memorable ones.
Here are two ways to craft experiences that your customers will remember (and even be willing to pay extra for), without breaking the bank.
If you just do the same thing as everyone else in your industry, how can you expect your customers to remember you? You’ll just be drowning in a sea of very similar experiences.
Fortunately, novelty and affordability aren’t mutually exclusive concepts.
LA’s Magic Castle Hotel uses this to its advantage. The hotel actually looks more like a motel. But, it manages to use novelty to create experiences that guests remember and want to pay a premium for.
In fact, these experiences are so powerful that they manage to charge 5-star prices in spite of looking like a motel.
One of the most unique things about the hotel is its ‘Popsicle Hotline’. If you’re lounging around poolside and are in the mood for a sweet treat, all you have to do is pick up a phone and call the popsicle hotline. Within minutes, they’ll have someone deliver popsicles to you on a silver platter, for free.
In addition, they have menus for board games and snacks that can be sent up to your room, all for free. Rather unique, especially with most hotels practically trying to clean out your wallet for the convenience of using the minibar.
Such tiny, surprising gestures can have a deep emotional impact on your customers and make them remember their experience with you.
And crafting novel experiences does not always mean you have to be incredibly creative. Sometimes all you need to do is be gracious. Maybe find something that everyone else in your industry overcharges for and offer it for free.
This is what Zappos did when they were starting off.
Every other e-commerce site at the time used to charge for shipping. They looked at shipping costs as a way to recover the revenue they’d lose by offering discounts.
Zappos decided to offer free shipping and returns, something that was incredibly novel at the time but also increased trialability and reduced customer friction.
Empower your employees
What if, when you called customer support with a unique request, instead of having to pass it on to their seniors and wait for approval, the agents were empowered to make decisions themselves?
What if the agents were told, “If it’s in the best interest of the customer and the company, go for it”?
You’d probably remember such an experience. You were expecting to wait and deal with frustration, but suddenly you got a pleasant surprise.
You need to empower your agents to create pleasant surprises for your customers and give them an unexpected rush of happiness.
So, what do you need to keep in mind about customer memories?
First off, plan the most intense emotion that you’d like to make your customer experience. But remember, the battles only half over after you get them to experience that emotion. You also need to consider the end of the experience and make sure they’re experiencing positive emotions while ending their interaction with your brand.
Create unique experiences, and empower your customers. The whole idea is to do something unexpected and delightful for your customers. As Shep Hyken says, always make extra efforts for your customers.
Creating memorable experiences with Engati
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