In last week’s column we explored the importance of creating a memorable experience for your customers. Today’s customers are one click away from finding someone else to meet their needs, which means you need to knock them dead every time.

While your competitors can match your prices, copy your products or services and even hire away your staff, they can’t replicate a unique customer experience. The question, of course, is – exactly what would that experience be?

The good news is we’re not talking about erecting a circus tent and putting on a show. We’re talking about making sure that doing business with you is simple, fast and without hiccups – and flavored with your brand.

Here’s the best part. Your customers will help you craft the experience they want most.  If you let them.

Get smarter: The first step is to listen, learn, and share what you’ve discovered.  You need to gather information about your offerings and your clients. In terms of your offerings, you need to anticipate what your prospects and customers might need to know. You also need to anticipate what your employees might need to know as they serve your customers.

You also need to capture as much information as possible about your customers. The best source? You guessed it -- your customers.  Start talking to them more. Find out what they worry about. Find out why they do or don’t buy for the second time. What would make it twice as easy to do business with you? 

Another way to learn from your customers is to observe how they interact with every portal into your company. Where do they go on your website? What do they ask when they call or email? What size, feature or option do they gravitate towards?

Equip your team to deliver: This constantly trips up companies. The leadership team or marketing department puts together new processes or policies but the details don’t ever trickle down to the front-line staff. They’re expected to seamlessly deliver a remarkable experience but it’s news to them.

Let your front-line team help you make the experience better. No one has more encounters with your clients so make sure their voice is part of the mix. 

No matter what you create, it won’t be quite right at first. This is where your customer facing team is most important. They’ll be the ones who can detect the flaws and suggest improvements.

All of this is only going to work if you invest enough time up front to get all the input from all levels of the organization and that you also build a feedback mechanism that allows you to gather reactions and issues so you adjust.

Wrap it with your brand: Making it easier to do business with you is important, but what makes the customer experience you create genuine and something so unique that your competitors can’t mimic it is putting your brand’s stamp on every aspect of the encounter. 

What does that look like? Look in the mirror. Is your company very buttoned up and serious about security? Are you playful and tongue in cheek? Do you have elaborate systems and processes? Think about how your customer perceives your organization. Identify what drew your best customers to you in the first place.

Creating an experience that makes your customer feel valued, appreciated and heard is a powerful way to not only create customers for life but customers who can’t help but bring their friends along.