I’ve never been one for rigid commandments, but these 10 essential rules are a must if you want to create a memorable experience for your customers. Hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality & tourism attractions can no longer afford to ignore these essential customer experience truths! Here’s why – think about this:

How many restaurants can you get to in a 15 minute drive? How many hotels do you have to choose from when booking your next vacation? How many different things can you do and see when you’re out in a new city… or even just looking for something to do on the weekend?

I asked myself these questions. Yelp told me there are 194 restaurants within a 15 minute drive of my home. Google told me there are 147 hotels in the Alba region (where I’m planning my summer vacation)! And don’t even get me started on places to go and things to do for entertainment – I can be in NYC and Philadelphia in less than an 1.5 hours. The possibilities are endless.

But do I patron all 194 of those restaurants? And will I just randomly select a hotel out of a hat for my Piedmont trip? Of course not. Because I have seriously high standards and don’t want to waste a minute on a subpar experience! And neither do the customers that you’re catering to. Experience trumps everything. So without further ado…


1. Design Your Experience With Value To The Customer In Mind

There is a fine balance you must strike between (a) what you think would be valuable and what you think the customer needs, and (b) what the customer thinks would be valuable and what they think they need. This means you can’t make assumptions. It also means asking customers what they want will only lead to surface-level concepts because people are not good at expressing what they really desire. In order to deliver massive value, and seriously surprise and delight the customer, you have to dig deep.

2. Create an Authentic Sense of Place

Whether you choose to bring in elements of the local culture to create a seamless regional experience for the customer, or you’d rather transport them to another world & time, the experience has to be authentic and aesthetically cohesive.  Keep this in mind as you design your experience to please ALL of the senses. If the sense of place is confusing or generic, you’re not creating a memorable customer experience.

3. Provide Entertainment, Education, and Escape

These three E’s are essential for immersing your customer into your experience and result in the BIG E: Engagement. And engagement is what leads to more loyal customers, more word of mouth business, and more profits. When you nail all three, that’s when the real magic happens.

4. Pay Attention To & Embrace Trends and Nostalgia

It pays to look ahead AND to the past when trying to elicit favorable emotions out of your customers. Most businesses are too slow and risk-averse to embrace the micro-movements that drive human behavior, only embracing the major trends once they’ve gone mainstream. Next time you see a trend that aligns with your brand’s values, get creative in embracing it.

5. Embrace Big-Picture And Small-Detail Thinking

If you’re looking at just the big picture or just the small details, you’re going to see a skewed version of your experience. Unfortunately, this is simply how most people’s brains work. Once you know which one you are, and force yourself to look at what you’re missing, you will see a world of possibilities for improvement.

6. Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate

There’s power in numbers. Doing business in a vacuum is the surest way to burnout. Collaboration allows you to align yourself with well-respected businesses, creatives, influencers, etc. and puts you in in front of their following. The lucrative creative opportunities that come with it can catapult your business to the next level AND give your customers more reasons to love you.

7. Stop Checking Out The Competition 

If you’re so focused on looking over your shoulder, you’ll miss out on the bright ideas and innovation possibilities right in front of you. What works for your competitors will not always work for you, and if you try to replicate their efforts, you’ll end up the copycat.

8. Set The Right Expectations 

It’s not just satisfaction, it’s satisfaction relative to what the customer expected. And customer expectations are rising insanely fast, especially the millennial generation with their FOMO and obsession with showing off their unique experiences on Instagram. #picsoritdidnthappen

9. Get Your Whole Team On Board With The Vision

There’s nothing worse than a disjointed experience, is there? The service and interaction with the staff is half the battle. It doesn’t matter how creative or different your experience is, if the team won’t play their role.

10. Use Your Unique Experience To Sell For You 

A powerful story about your experience should be at the forefront of all your marketing communications. It will help to position you as the right choice to your ideal customer amongst the competition. If you’re having trouble crafting a powerful story, then that says your experience isn’t quite there yet.

Are you following all 10 of these rules? Where do you see room for improvement in your brand?

To dig deeper into the business of customer experience, visit the CX Portal!

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