Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends. -Walt Disney
Shakespeare was right. The world is a stage and if you’re in Customer Service, you are the one performing.
Tell a customer your company offers quality, service and price and you’re likely to get a reply of “BOOORRing! Who doesn’t?”
Your customer already knows your price. It’s on the Internet. She expects quality to be included at no extra charge. She knows amazing customer service when she sees it and frankly, she thinks yours will fall somewhere between “mediocre and atrocious.”
Today’s Customer demands quality, service and price to be already in place. That’s the benchmark, the bare minimum, the entry level and if you don’t meet that standard from the very beginning, you will constantly be struggling to keep up with those who are perceptive enough to embrace this fact.
Showing Your ACE
An auto dealer took out a full-page advertisement and printed the testimonial of a satisfied customer as the headline for the ad. It simply read, “It was the best buying experience I ever had.” That was it. She didn’t say, “It was the cheapest deal in town.” Nor, did she give praises about the wonderful features of the new vehicle. She didn’t even mention the model she purchased. She simply said it was the best buying experience she ever had.
Most customers are exactly like her. They are grading the Personal Experience Factor (PEF) when they conduct business with you. Today’s customer is accustomed to being entertained and they are looking to you to provide an Amazing Customer Experience (ACE).
It’s Not the Big Mac ®
McDonald’s does an excellent job of creating an Amazing Customer Experience. You’ve probably seen the commercials that play to our focus on family values. The camera drops in on an average family, Mom and Dad with their young children, gathered around red plastic tables for some good old-fashioned family fun. They are all laughing and enjoying their “Happy Meals.” If you blink, you might miss the five-seconds of footage highlighting the burgers and fries.
Of course, in the “real world,” if the camera dropped in on my family, the kids wouldn’t even be at the table. They’d be in PlayLand and their mom would be shouting, “Get over here and eat your chicken nuggets before they get cold!” And if the children did happen to be sitting at the table, they would be yelling stuff like, “Mom, he’s touching my fries,” or “Ooh, yuck, it has onions on it!”
But, the point is, it’s not the Big Mac® bringing them in; it’s quality of the overall PEF.
The message is, if you want to have a fun night with the family, take them to
McDonald’s. The food is secondary.
The restaurant and automobile industry aren’t the only ones improving the PEF to sell their product. While Amazon may be the world’s largest online bookstore – and by the way, Amazon excels at customer service – the brick and mortar bookstores continue to grow. They offer elaborate settings reminiscent of stylish libraries of the rich and famous. Their interiors, filled with overstuffed chairs and the smell of freshly brewed coffee, invite customers to relax and browse before making their purchase. The bookstores offer something the Internet hasn’t yet mastered – an Amazing Customer Experience.
If you want to remain relevant in the twenty-first century, you too, need to show your customers an ACE.
Turnaround tip: Your goal is to make your customer happier after doing business with you than before. Get together with all of your associates and brainstorm some ideas you can use at your business to turn a transaction with your company into an Amazing Customer Experience. Below are some suggestions for jump-starting your brainstorming session.
Engage your customer’s senses. What’s the first thing a customer sees upon entering your store? What’s the first scent a customer experiences when walking into your business? Is it the smell of burnt coffee, mildew, or an overflowing trash container?
Pay attention to appearances, fragrances and sounds. I know a realtor who lights a vanilla candle in the kitchen of the house she’s about to show, twenty minutes before her appointment arrives. She says it creates an inviting scent that engages the customer’s imagination by suggesting the aroma of home-cooking and fresh baked goods.
There are several simple things you can do to enhance your environment. Buy an automatic air-freshener. Brew fresh coffee. Light a candle. Take out the trash.
Offer an interactive experience. REI, a retailer who specializes in recreation gear, has simulated outdoor settings – such as a “Rain Room,” a climbing rock and bike trail – that are testing stations where members can try out gear before they buy. Golfsmith superstores have practice ranges, classes in custom clubmaking, putting courses and computer analysis of your golf swing. Think of some industry-related interactive ideas for your business and customers will think of you first, when it’s time to buy the service or product you sell.
Provide entertainment. Do-It-Yourself centers hold “How-to” demonstrations on everything from how to hang wallpaper to proper paint selection. Barnes and Noble and Borders bookstores provide musical events and feature best-selling authors who lecture and sign books. Here’s an inexpensive way you can provide entertainment at your business. Buy a combination TV/VCR and play product videos or other programs your customers would enjoy.
Create your own Amazing Customer Experience. Be open to new ideas and evaluate the PEF at other businesses outside of your industry.
Remember to look at your business from the customer’s point of view. It’s still a personal business. People buy from people they like who work at places they enjoy going. Create an Amazing Customer Experience at your business and soon your customers will tell others, “It was the best buying experience I ever had!”