Are you literally crushing your competition by delivering a memorable experience with each and every customer interaction? It is so easy to say, “Sure, our staff is the best and the friendliest in town, and our customers love us.” But are you memorable? Meaning, when someone in your community decides to buy what you sell they immediately think of you, or tell their family, friends and neighbors about that they need to make their purchase with you. Here is what you want… and here is what needs to happen. Two stories, one fictitious and one totally true and experienced by me.
Lets say you are driving through the country and you come up on a field full of cows. The wind is blowing through your open windows and you are just admiring the cows. And all of a sudden you notice one is totally purple. I mean Barney purple. What would you do? Think about that question for a moment. What would you do? I bet you would stop the car immediately, get out and make sure you saw what you thought you saw, and knowing that if you told anyone they would think you were either drunk or on some illegal drug you grabbed your cell phone and took as clear a picture as you could. Then you texted it to everyone you know and plastered it all over social media. Then every time you drive by that field you are looking for that purple cow. Memorable – that is what you want with your business and your customers.
Now for a real-life story – a story of the McDonalds employee. It does not sound like a great treat but when I have breakfast meeting I often will take the person to a McDonalds not far from my office. I do this not because the food is out of this world but because the service is. It certainly meets the purple-cow standard in my book. And it is all because of one employee. This employee engages with you after you have gotten your order and have found your table. Then she kicks in gear by asking if you want a refill of your drink – and she will do this a few times before you are done eating. Often enough to not get on your nerves and before you get low on anything. She will take your tray with all the wrappings that came with your food and will even bring you extra napkins and condiments if you need them. This type customer service crushes most any restaurant in the area – high dollar or fast food.
Most companies say they believe in great customer service, but few set up a system to insure that they provide it and achieve customer satisfaction. Delivering great customer service takes both understanding what your customers want and a way to see that they receive it. Then a caring employee and a training system to make sure it happens, each and every time.
Studies have shown that it is at least five times more profitable to sell to an existing customer than to find a new customer. More important, the difference between satisfied customers and Raving Fan customers can make a big difference in customer repeat business and your profits.
There are several ways to gather input from customers. The simplest way to find out how customers feel and what they want is to ask them. If you have only 20 customers, you can talk to each one personally. The advantage of this approach is that you’ll get a personal “feel” for each customer. The disadvantage is that you’ll gather different information from each customer depending on how the conversation goes.
Customer surveys with standardized survey questions insure that you will collect the same information from everyone. Keep this in mind, few of your customers will be interested in “filling out a questionnaire”. It’s work for them without much reward. By launching a very short customer survey as an attempt to find out “how we can serve you better” — your customers will feel honored to share information.
Here are a few (generally stated) possible questions you could measure and have on your survey:
· quality of service
· speed of service
· complaints or problems
· the closeness of the relationship with contacts in your firm
· types of other services needed
In a business world where customer acquisition costs are sky-rocketing, small business owners must focus on building a customer experience that increases customer satisfaction and is worth talking about – just like that purple cow you saw. And then keep you coming back for more.
In conclusion, stats don’t lie, understand the importance of customer satisfaction. Here are three mind-blowing facts that should motivate you to start focusing on increasing customer satisfaction.
According to Bain and Co., a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%.
Gartner Group statistics tell us that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.
Lee Resource Inc. found that attracting new customers will cost your company five times more than keeping an existing customer.