The psychological “peak-end rule” suggests that when people go through extended experiences in life, they tend to judge the experience on its highest or lowest point and its final moments. Understanding and making use of the peak-end rule can have tremendous business benefits through increased customer satisfaction.
Importance of Follow-up
The peak-end rule clearly points to the importance of follow-up customer service. If a customer buys a product or experiences a service that is not satisfying, this moment of misery becomes his concluding feeling. However, you can step in with a follow-up visit or call and learn about this negative feeling. Hearing the negative feedback gives you a chance to resolve the product or service experience, which when effective, can alter the most recent feeling the customer has about your company or product to one that is positive.
Manage the Total Customer Experience
The total customer experience stems from the recognition that a customer’s feelings toward your business result from all encounters across all touch points with your business. The peak-end rule dictates that you need to build and maintain consistency in all facets of your service operation. Store-based associates, sales reps, marketing professionals and call centre reps can all play a role in providing consistently high service. Consistency protects against a negative peak that can resonate in the customer’s perception of your business.
Implement Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are essentially methods by which retailers intentionally build peak moments into the customer relationship over time. Each time a customer earns rewards or bonuses based on a purchase from a company, she is likely to feel a peak moment of joy. Thus, loyalty programs not only motivate customers to come back, they contribute to the positive peaks. Even if a customer has moderately negative moments in its relationship with a business, routine loyalty benefits can prove stronger in the peak-end assessment.
The Red Carpet Walk
In a retail environment, the final moments of the customer visit contribute to the feeling he has about the overall experience. This factor dictates why front-end associates routinely ask “Did you find everything OK?” The problem in some instance is that the associates ask this question hypnotically and aren’t necessarily prepared for what to do if the customer had trouble. Companies should train employees on steps to help a concerned shopper. Communication about post-purchase contact, delivery and installation also increase the buyer’s comfort with the experience. Pleasant greetings during the walk out of the business further strengthen the peak-end of the experience.