The customer experience that a business provides is crucial to its success. You may be thinking, how do you craft the ultimate customer experience? The Partnership team and one of its partner’s learned some valuable insights into that question this summer.
Picture this: June sun, Atlanta vibes and the Braves beating the Mets underneath a perfect twilight sky. This set the stage for our quest almost a year in the making: learning how to craft unforgettable customer experiences by meeting with incredible local marketers doing it the best, right in our own backyard.
Chick-fil-A, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Piedmont Healthcare and the Atlanta Braves have all cracked the code on customer-centered excellence—so that’s where we took our visiting healthcare client partner, Naples Comprehensive Health (NCH). In our two days touring these exceptional marketers’ headquarters alongside our partners, we found ourselves incredibly grateful for all the leaders that opened their doors to us and shared the secrets of their success to help NCH elevate their own.
Excellence in customer experience begins with people.
Customer success starts with employees—and the best employees need the best on-boarding. Enter the on-boarding maestros: Chick-fil-A and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Chick-Fil-A’s white-glove service begins with a ten-day on-boarding program; Mercedes-Benz Stadium invests at least five days in their people before they even start their jobs, ensuring a clear understanding of their five-year plan and values wheel—slices of which include Listen to others and Empowerment people. And for our friends at Piedmont, it’s all about the “True North.” Listening to employees and smoothing their concerns leads to happy patients and staff.
One of the coolest things about experiences like these are that our partners aren’t the only ones walking away from them with massively impactful takeaways. We strive to learn alongside our partners in everything we do, and share in their takeaways so that we can improve ourselves internally and be the best partners we can be. One takeaway was that orientation and on-boarding are not the same thing. We walked away from these visits feeling incredibly motivated ourselves to revamp our employee on-boarding experience.
Perhaps the most tangible takeaway was understanding how values shape an employee’s motivation. We learned that Chick-fil-A’s rise to customer experience excellence is rooted in the core values set by Truett Cathy. Inspired by Horst Schulze from The Ritz-Carlton, Cathy brought the philosophy behind “My Pleasure” to Chick-fil-A. To make it stick, though, the executive team had to form the habits first, and from there a top-down model became their standard. Today, Chick-fil-A’s customer service and brand values are unmatched in the fast-food industry.
Consider your customers’ total experience—especially the parts outside your brand.
We learned that the guiding principle behind Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s “Driveway to Driveway” strategy is that the customer’s total experience starts in their driveway, before they’ve even left for an event. While Mercedes-Benz Stadium might not be able to control the traffic to the event, they ensure their customers’ arrivals are as smooth and clearly understood as possible with frequent and personalized communications. Armed with daily event reports, comprehensive CRM, customer segmentation and survey data, they’re practically mind-readers.
From stocking the number one Taylor Swift concert munchie (chicken tenders) to ensuring NFL season ticket holders’ happiness with non-football event options (not every NFL franchise has a fan experience department), they’ve got customer experience figured out. Similarly, Chick-fil-A considers how you “show up” as well. While they can’t control the mood a retail customer brings when arriving to their restaurant, they do encourage staff to take the temperature before providing the right level of cheer or chat. It’s this respect and honor for the customer’s total environment that makes these top-tier brands so great at what they do.
Having insights at your fingertips upgrades every customer’s experience.
Ever wondered how Mercedes-Benz Stadium nails that jaw-dropping customer experience? Their ability to apply what they learn in rapid cycles is impressive. They have optimization discussions and decisions daily. If there’s a sophisticated listening machine, it’s them. Their first-party data allows them to contact people when they need to without dependencies on partners or tech vendors.
Similarly, Piedmont Healthcare is merging together data, tech, insights and patient engagement to propel their organization into a new era. The words “hassle-free” aren’t often an accurate descriptor of the modern healthcare experience. But Piedmont Healthcare has “The Piedmont Way”—a belief and practice in developing excellence in the patient experience. From mobile apps to physical wayfinding tools to real-time scheduling and patient-doctor communication, Piedmont is constantly tracking and measuring satisfaction. Turning insights into action has not only improved patient experience but improved staff retention as well.
All in all…
Being expert listeners and having a genuine sense of care for the customer is what has allowed these marketers and empathetic leaders to provide experiences that delight. Combine data-driven insights with values-rich vibes, and you’ve got the ticket to A+ customer experiences.