PART 3 OF A 7 PART SERIES - 7 STEPS TO PASS ON A SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL FUNERAL BUSINESS TOMORROW
Remarkable And Memorable
When was the last time you purchased a product or a service and you were amazed or "wowed" by the experience? I bet you immediately told lots of other people about that experience. That is what we do! We share online the experience of buying a product or a service when it is memorable or remarkable. Whether that is a good or bad "remarkable", it is the experience that matters.
I remember staying at a hotel in Vietnam last year where the staff learned your name. It didn't matter if it was the receptionist, the waitress, or the pool attendant or the hotel concierge. After one day at the hotel, everyone would greet you by name. I have stayed at maybe hundreds of hotels in my life. How many can I tell you about off the top of my head? Maybe a couple. Why? Because they prioritised the customer experience and raised it to a level that left me in awe. I've stayed at other hotels where the notion of customer services was a misnomer. I won't mention those; I'll let those comments sit on my Tripadvisor reviews.
How simple was it to prioritise that customer experience? How simple was it to learn a name? How memorable does that make the experience? If I ever go back to Vietnam and that town, guess where I will be staying.
This post continues in the short series 7 Steps To Pass On A Successful Digital Funeral Business Tomorrow. Many funeral businesses are a second, third or even fourth generation business. Because digital disruption has changed the funeral marketplace considerably, to pass on a thriving business to the next generation needs a "digital" mindset. In the previous post; I explained what the difference between an "analogue" and "digital" mindset when looking at a funeral business. Step one was to allocate resources, step two, review your website and look at it through the eyes of "Home Base." Step three is to digitise your customer experience.
Customer Experience Is The New Battle Ground
The key point is this, customer experience (CX) is now a priority for business. The type of activity or service does not make this critical fact any less valuable. Experience matters! Funeral Directors or funeral homes that take this on board and digitise that experience will be raising their brand and business above other funeral businesses in their area. As the funeral marketplace is getting crowded with new competition, the "what" offered remains much the same. The differentiating factor will be the experience of the "how." And that comes down to a significant trend called the "experience economy."
B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore were the first to start describing this cultural change as the term "Experience Economy." They defined the term as:
"An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event."
A Remarkable and Relevant Funeral Business
What does this mean to a funeral business that wants to stay relevant and memorable? It means designing your services with an eye to creating remarkable experiences. This is what will distinguish your funeral business from competitors in the area. We all know and understand how it feels to experience bad service and exceptional service. The idea of focusing on customer experience, you may say is not new, and it isn't. But we now live in a digital era. Bringing digital practices into our customer experience is no longer just a good idea! It is about the survival of the fittest in the new digital jungle of the funeral industry.
When was the last time you sat down and asked what does an exceptional customer experience that captures the heart, mind and soul look like? How can we make the experience of dealing with our funeral business remarkable? Are we just doing the same as we have always done? What makes our service outstanding? How can we use digital technology to make our customers experience memorable?
"Customers are placing great demands, not just on products and services, but on the ongoing experience, their interactions with companies offer." Brian Solis
Good Experiences Grab Customers
40% of customers chose a competitive brand (or firm) because of the reputation of good customer service.
55% of customers are willing to recommend a company because of outstanding customer service.
85% of customers would pay up to 25% more to ensure a superior customer service experience.
For more ideas and a fascinating read check out more of Brian Solis's work on his site. Or read his latest book - X: The Experience When Business Meets Design
How Can You Digitise Your Customer Experience?
Here are just a couple of ideas.
Communication - This starts before a client even comes to your business. This process begins the moment they visit your website. Can they read your website on a mobile phone? Can they connect with you by email easily? Think about the information journey of your customers in this connected world. Mobile phones are glued to people's hands. How do you greet your potential customers? Can they Instant Message you? Have you designed the experience of doing business with your firm digitally?
My dentist and my doctor now text me. They text me to confirm an appointment and they text me to review their service. While of course the issues around a funeral are not as simplistic and straightforward. The question is, are you using digital technology to communicate in every way possible to make the experience of doing business with you remarkable?
While this may seem a strange comment, can you use digital technology to remember special dates and then use traditional methods to make an experience remarkable? Why not set up a reminder system that notifies you of the one-year anniversary of the death of a loved one. Then send the family a suitable, relevant and sensitive note saying our thoughts are with you today.
Here are a few more ideas where you could use digital technology to create a remarkable customer experience.
Can you create e-content PDF's Ebooks that explain the services you offer and email these on the first contact?
Create an email subscriber list from visits to your website.
Offer ebook downloads, offers and information sheets as PDF's.
Most funeral directors have some kinds of resources on their sites such as what to do when someone dies. It is not that difficult turn these into downloadable documents.
Use Social Media for obituaries and funeral notices
Offer all kinds of payment systems including new methods such as PayPal and iPay
Can you help your customers create online memorials? Have a look at these services as an example.