3 Ways To Create Unique Customer Experiences

One of the most effective ways to keep customers coming back to your business is to create one-of-a-kind experiences every time they come th
Co-Founder & CEO, Alignable
April 27, 2011

One of the most effective ways to keep customers coming back to your business is to create one-of-a-kind experiences every time they come through your door or visit your website. You might think this is impossible, especially if all of your customers come in for the same thing based on your fixed “menu” of options.

Just because you've carved out your niche, and your customers now know what to expect from you, it doesn’t mean you can’t create great new and even more meaningful customer experiences.

Here are three suggestions:

1.  Turn the Existing Customer Experience on Its Head

Some businesses create unique customer experiences by capitalizing on their expertise, like Wilson’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor in Door County, Wisconsin. At the bottom of each heaping cone you’ll find a jellybean that keeps the ice cream from dripping.

Other businesses create unique experiences by combining different environments under one roof and the combination is effective. The rise in laundromats featuring coffee bars and organic food is a prime example of this “business model fusion.”

You can make flat experiences more exciting by first acknowledging and accepting how your customers view your type of business in general. Then turn the experience on its head.

If your business is purely Web-based, you can add different levels of interactivity based on customer profiles and browsing history, along with visuals such as slideshows and quizzes.

This doesn’t mean you need to change your whole business model because you’re probably already running a successful operation.  Simply consider a few modest changes that will truly delight your customers. These can include offering new and different services, showcasing your expertise in fun and different ways like the jellybean example, or teaming up with another local and complementary business for that fusion experience.

2.  Transform Captive Experiences into Captivating Experiences

If your business requires customers to spend more than five minutes on your premises, you have an opportunity to turn captive experiences into captivating experiences.

Some Trader Joe’s supermarkets hide a stuffed whale in the aisles. The child who finds it gets to pick a gift from a treasure box. This turns the task of grocery shopping into a fun and unique experience while making shoppers more aware of all the products on the shelves as they search for the whale—not just the items on their list.

You can easily apply these same tactics online.

3.  Provide a Pleasant Distraction

If your customer is at your place of business waiting for an extensive, and perhaps expensive, process to be done (think car repairs or dental work), you may want to think about offering a complete distraction. This can be as simple as offering individual movie players and a selection of comedies or having an area for interactive games.

The distraction will keep their mind off the time they need to be waiting for service and may help them forget the initial reason that brought them to your business such as a car accident or a dental emergency.

Engaging customers is not just about content and social media. It starts with a memorable experience that will get those customers talking—and coming back for more.