Customer Experience Tips That Build Loyalty

Hint: Skip the bells and whistles and focus on easy

by Shannon Donnici

Why do so many good companies with great products drop the ball on customer service?

Simple. They spend too much energy complicating experiences and trying to wow their customers. Instead, they should give customers what they want: a seamless and easy experience.

Today’s customers are more sophisticated and more connected than ever before. They trust one another more than they trust corporations. Their expectations of value and efficiency are higher than ever.

In this digital age, people will not wait in line, will not put up with grumpy or carefree representatives and will avoid frustrating interactions. To build customer loyalty, companies must make the customer experience a strategic priority. Loyal customers are the gift that keeps on giving: they buy more over time and say good things about your company to other potential customers.

Why do so many good companies with great products drop the ball on customer service?

Simple. They spend too much energy complicating experiences and trying to wow their customers. Instead, they should give customers what they want: a seamless and easy experience.

Today’s customers are more sophisticated and more connected than ever before. They trust one another more than they trust corporations. Their expectations of value and efficiency are higher than ever.

In this digital age, people will not wait in line, will not put up with grumpy or carefree representatives and will avoid frustrating interactions. To build customer loyalty, companies must make the customer experience a strategic priority. Loyal customers are the gift that keeps on giving: they buy more over time and say good things about your company to other potential customers.

Research shows that customers do not want to be “wowed”. They just want consistently easy experiences. The best way to build and maintain strong customer loyalty is to deliberately create and deliver a customer experience that is reliably smooth and meets the basic service expectations of customers. These include:

  1. Competent, confident and considerate staff
  2. Quick and effective problem solving processes
  3. Simple access to the company
  4.  No requirement to repeat information and limited transferring within the organization
  5. Reasonable interaction time.

Fortunately, the same systems that build loyalty through an easy customer experience almost always result in operating efficiencies for businesses. It’s a win-win without the bells and whistles.

The advance polling experience for many voters in the recent Canadian federal election provides a timely example of a significant gap between what customers wanted and expected, i.e. easy, and what they actually received.

Many voters who chose to visit the advance polls did so for a number of reasons, including circumventing crowds and wait times on Election Day.

Much to their frustration, many voters experienced long line-ups, confusion over identification requirements and wait times up to three hours in some cases. Some voters were even turned away because there wasn’t time to process them before closing time.

Some Elections Canada staff reported being overwhelmed by the arduous task of balancing the crowds and Elections Canada’s strict rules. For thousands of advance voters and staff, the experience was anything but easy.

Four tips for igniting easy, efficient customer experience:

  1. Consider how easy it is (or isn’t) to be a customer at your company. For example, how convenient are the hours of operation? Do you have an online presence, and if yes, how easy is it to navigate? How do you handle issue escalation? Identify and prioritize improvement opportunities for each area.
  2. Identify the top three problems your customers are experiencing and solve them.
  3. Don’t make your customers have to repeat themselves if they have a problem—review your interaction process and ensure that customers only have to tell their story once.
  4. Efficiency is valuable to you and to your customers—identify frequent, time-consuming customer interactions and work to make them smoother.

Introduce the concept of consistently easy customer experiences to your company. Your passion and actions will create momentum towards delivering easy customer experiences.


Shannon Donnici is Wazuku Advisory Group’s Alberta-based Vice President. She is a passionate expert in the field of customer experience and customer service. As a former Chief Customer Officer of Shaw Communications, Shannon has honed her knowledge and expertise with over 25 years of direct work experience successfully creating and executing customer experience strategies and leading customer service operations.