I’m just about to jump on the treadmill for a run on a cold winter’s evening when my wife calls.

“The coolant light in the car is on.” That can’t be good.

Conceptually, I know enough about cars to know how they work and what could be wrong with them. Mechanically, don’t let me take anything apart, please. So I know enough (and know better) to call my friendly auto repair shop and ask them if I can drop off the car in the morning to have them take a look at this issue.

In the next 24 hours, here is the short version of what transpired: I showed up 10 minutes before stated opening time on the morning of a snowstorm to an already open shop, I was greeted warmly and given a “most likely” scenario of what was going on (putting my budget-conscious mind at ease), was given frequent updates during the day as to what the shop was doing, and picked up my car before closing having been treated fairly and only paying for one diagnostic test and some extra coolant.

To me, and likely to others, the task of taking the car to the shop for routine maintenance or repair work is one of the worst inconveniences. (Yes, I realize that this is also a first-world problem.) By comparison, it’s also well known that many people don’t like having to perform the task of banking. Dealing with money, paying bills, balancing the checking account…they’re all things on the “to do” list that never reallyl want to get done.

A hallmark of service in the digital age is creating the most friction-less, barrier-free entry, experience that we can for our customers and members. These experiences keep our customers coming back time and time again. These experiences are the ones that make loyal customers and members. They are what create raving fans of our brand.

Having a smooth experience at the repair shop, like the one I had, doesn’t mean I am rooting for the next time I need to take my car in for service. But it does mean that next time, maybe I won’t dread it nearly as much. And you can bet I’m also more likely to share the name of my shop with anyone that I know that needs car repair help. (Drop us a line and I’ll let you know! (They’re a chain, so they might be in your area, too!))

Having a smooth, glitch free experience has, for better or worse, become an expectation with today’s consumers. It’s why continually testing your process, ironing out glitches and seeing service through the eyes of your consumer has become the new standard. it’s the surest path to creating your raving fans and the positive emotional reaction to your brand.

In 2017, instead of always trying to create something new and fresh, I propose resolving to refining and perfecting our consumer experience. Consider these:

  • Refine the page flow and layout of your website based on what Google Analytics tells you are the most popular pages visited.
  • Make sure your online account opening and loan application processes are quick, easy and clear for the customer.
  • Value add! Find opportunities to connect with your customers better than you have before (account opening, loan closing, account servicing, etc.).
  • Put your customer’s minds at ease with fraud protection updates and cyber security tips.

What else is in your strategic plan for 2017? Where can you make advances to perfect your processes and reach your goals?