My favorite measurement tool for customer interactions is the simplest one: Did you just make the thing better or worse for the customer? Or, was it a forgettable, nothing-burger of an interaction? It really all boils down to those three choices. In Creating Superfans, I call these customer interaction outcomes Net Positive, Net Neutral, and Net Negative.
The overwhelming majority of interactions we all experience in life are Net Neutral ones. Hundreds or even thousands of times each day, you have interactions: emails, texts, phone calls, in-person conversations… the list goes on. You process most of them so quickly, and so automatically, that you don’t think about them again after they end.
What if you could elevate those often-overlooked customer interactions into experiences? What if, all around you, there are countless opportunities to give your customers a little extra? A little extra jazz to take something from neutral to positive? From forgettable to I’ve-gotta-post-a-picture-of-that.
Guess what? You can! This article is all about ten of the countless ways you can do it. These simple interactions illustrate how you can intentionally elevate mundane moments into memorable ones.
10 Often-Overlooked CX Opportunities Hiding In Plain Sight
- 1. Your wifi network name and password
- 2. Your voicemail or hold message
- 3. Your 404 page
- 4. Your email unsubscribe message
- 5. The hours/service details on your site or storefront
- 6. Sandwich board sign in front of your building
- 7. Terms (or notes) on your invoices
- 8. “Hello” and “Goodbye” Interactions
- 9. Overlooked physical space
- 10. Your OOO or vacation auto-responder
1. Your wifi network name and password
How many times a day do customers or visitors ask for your wifi information? Instead of a random string of letters and numbers that no one can ever remember, why not make it something that’s representative of your brand?
It could be your tagline [WeRTheBest!], your customer promise [Here4U247!], or something cheeky or fun [MyNewFaveSpot]. In fact, it was a wifi network sign at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants (shout out to Casa Jose in Franklin!) that inspired this newsletter when I saw this sign at the front desk a few days ago:
2. Your voicemail or hold message
My family and I are members of the Nashville Zoo, so we’re always visiting for different events. A few weeks ago, I decided to call the Zoo to get some clarity on the instructions for an upcoming event. I was a bit annoyed that I had to call them, but my feelings immediately changed after being placed on hold.
Nobody likes waiting on hold. It’s a huge waste of your time. However, the Zoo brilliantly seized this underutilized interaction to further tell its story and connect with the customer. Instead of typical, boring hold music with a recurring automated message (that tricks you into thinking it’s finally your turn!), the Zoo played the sounds of all of its different animals. Listening to the lorikeets and the spider monkeys was so enjoyable that I didn’t want the service agent to take my call!
Not only was this a clever way to assuage my frustration before speaking to an employee, but it also served as a timely reminder of why I love my local Zoo and choose to be a member.
3. Your 404 page
A 404 page is the error page that pops up when a desired URL won’t load. Ordinary companies display a default “Page not found” memo, the ultimate dead-end for the user. SUPER brands enhance this message into a Net Positive interaction! Here are some elevated 404 messages that infuse the brand’s personality and offer helpful links.
Not sure where to start on your 404 message? Try incorporating a funny gif (if funny is part of your brand DNA) and a menu of troubleshooting options or links to other pages on your site.
4. Your email unsubscribe message
Just as you want to make a memorable first impression when you’re emailing a customer for the first time, you should also maximize your “unsubscribe” messages. Why? Because even if a customer has chosen to remove themselves from your email list, you still want them to remember your brand in case they’re in a situation to refer a friend or come back one day.
Fashion retailer Revolve nailed its goodbye email below. They understand that customers’ inboxes get cluttered, just like our closets. Maybe the customer purchased a dress for their big occasion and is no longer in the market for designer-brand clothing. However, Revolve’s personal send-off email instills its story one last time so that customers will remember the brand the next time they’re in the hunt for a special outfit.
How do your customers feel when they unsubscribe from your list? Are you creating frustrating customer interactions with several unnecessary steps, or is it on-brand and memorable?
5. The hours/service details on your site or storefront
Another customer interaction that you can easily elevate is the hours of operation sign on your website or storefront. Chick-fil-A doesn’t simply print the word “HOURS” on its stores’ doors. The words “HERE TO SERVE YOU” appear above the operating hours. It conveys the same information, but in a way that is more authentic to their brand voice.
European Wax Center accepts walk-in appointments as well as reservations. But, instead of saying “Walk-ins welcome” on their doors (like 95% of salons and spas), the doors say: “WALK IN. STRUT OUT.” In just four words, they let you know what it will feel like to be a customer.
6. Sandwich board sign in front of your building
Similar to the hours & service details, a sandwich board sign is an opportunity to share your story before a prospect even steps into your business. I also love it when the stores in my neighborhood connect to the community with signs that cheer on our hometown sports teams or comment on local events.
A clever sandwich board sign is much more likely to be shared on social media. So instead of a boring “come in, we’re open” sign, maximize your sandwich board into something so great that your prospects promote your brand for free – just make sure to put your logo somewhere on it 😉.
Use a funny joke or pun and elevate your sandwich board signs into memorable – and shareable – customer interactions.
7. Terms (or notes) on your invoices
Paying an invoice is almost always a Net Neutral or a Net Negative customer interaction. Moreover, a payment typically occurs either right before you start a project together, or as one of the last major interactions you have (or both). To the extent that you can infuse your uniqueness into the design or language of your invoice, you can mitigate any buyer’s remorse and leave a lasting impression on your customers.
At the very minimum, make sure that it’s EASY for customers to pay you.
8. “Hello” and “Goodbye” Interactions
What’s the first thing that happens when someone begins an interaction with your company, and the last thing that happens before they go? How can you inject magic — or at least charm — into these moments?
I’ve spent more than 70 nights in hotels this year. Most of them are a blur at this point, but I remember a handful of great check-in and check-out moments. Even if it’s a gesture as simple as a warm cookie (Thanks, Doubletree!) or rum punch (Lookin’ at you, Margaritaville!) at check-in, these “welcome” moments set the tone for the experience that follows. How are you welcoming (literally or metaphorically) your customers?
The send-off is just as important. Here are two fun customer interactions I’ve experienced this year. My dentist’s office in Nashville has a smoothie bar. Before you check out, the receptionist asks what kind of smoothie you’d like and prepares it for you in a branded, insulated cup. My dog’s vet ophthalmologist (yep, that’s a thing) has a tennis ball dispenser at the front desk so that every good boy goes home with a new toy.
9. Overlooked physical space
I’m a big fan of using real estate that is otherwise ignored. Two of my favorite examples are floor decals and shipping packages. Floor decals aren’t just for “stay six feet apart” stickers! You can use them for anything from adding holiday flare to in-store interactive experiences. My sons loved shopping at the Nike store because they got to compare their shoe size to some of Nike’s athletes, like Serena Williams and LeBron James. Look for under-utilized space that can offer new ways for customers to interact with your brand.
Shipping boxes and packaging are two of my favorite customer interactions to get creative with! When I was a kid, I wrote a lot of fan letters to celebrities. No surprise there, right? Ha. One strategy I remember hearing when I was very young was to either use a colorful envelope or draw on the envelope so that it would stand out. If you’re staring at 100 unopened envelopes and 99 of them are white, which one will grab your attention? Probably not the 99 Net Neutral ones! You can go all out with branded mailing supplies, or you can simply add some fun copy, like Amazon did with this campaign:
10. Your OOO or vacation auto-responder
An OOO email is an overlooked customer interaction that you can EASILY elevate! Someone is reaching out to you and therefore waiting for your reply. Why hit them with the dreaded “Thank you for your email…” message when you can take the opportunity to strategically position yourself and connect with your audience?
Here are a few tips for maximizing your OOO message:
- Write the email in your true voice instead of the robotic “thank you for your message…”
- If appropriate, share a detail about where you are. It will give your customers an easy conversation starter for when you return.
- Provide value by sharing your lead magnets, a calendar link to schedule a meeting for when you’re back, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Check out my favorite OOO examples in a newsletter I wrote earlier this year.
Everything is experience. From personalized wifi network names to creative 404 pages, from entertaining hold music to thoughtful unsubscribe messages, there’s no detail too small to build an experience on. By infusing these moments with creativity, authenticity, and value, you can turn neutral customer interactions into opportunities to build stronger connections, foster loyalty, and ultimately create superfans of your brand.