Last night we were watching Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Comedy Roadshow with Rhod Gilbert telling the story of his toothbrush. (It’s very funny and if you’ve never seen it you can watch it here. Whether it’s a toothbrush, socks or earmuffs, I’m sure we’ve all had similar disappointments; you receive the most amazing looking gift, beautifully wrapped, posh ribbon and fancy packaging. Then you reveal the contents…. And it’s a real let down. It’s all glitz and no substance.
So why would I be talking about disappointing gifts?
Do we ever leave our customers with the same let down experience?
What promises might we make either intentionally or unintentionally, on which we then fail to deliver.
We’ve had that experience just this week. We came home on Tuesday night to find a card saying “we tried to deliver your parcel, but you were out.” (I’m sure with today’s technology it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep the customer informed, and in this case notify expected delivery date, but maybe that’s an article for another day…) To cut a long and very frustrating story short despite rearranging the delivery for Wednesday, the parcel still hasn’t arrived. Needless to say our expectations have been far from met and that courier company certainly won’t be getting any recommendations from us. Yes, I appreciate it’s Christmas and it’s a busy period, but please don’t make promises that you then can’t deliver. Not a good recipe for customer loyalty.
It’s easy when you’re busy to let things slip, but this should be the very time to wow your customers So here are my top 10 things you might want to check so you feel confident you’ll never be falling short with your customers, so they remain naturally loyal to you and your business.
- Is everything you display on your website and in your marketing representative of what people get when they arrive. Not only your offers and prices, but are your photographs representative, is everything available as implied or, are directions accurate, etc. Yes, I get that you need to make your offers enticing, but they certainly shouldn’t be misleading if you don’t want to lose your customers’ trust.
- Is it made clear at the time of enquiry or booking if anything won’t be available on the day or time in question? There may be times when you’re hosting big events that are bound to have a knock-on effect on other customers. Be upfront about these and the impact it might have to avoid disappointment.
- Are customers forewarned of any potential problems? For example peak periods when there might be a need to wait. Or when the only option you can offer your customer is not what they would normally book. OK, they may not decide to book as a result, but better that and they come back another day, than they come to you, have a disappointing experience, and never return.
- Does the customer’s first impression live up to what’s in store? Disappointment at this stage can have a knock-on effect on the whole experience, leaving your customer nit picking by looking for every opportunity to support their initial assessment.
- Will the last customers of the day get the same choices and level of service is the first customers of the day. Your team might be tired and want to go home, but is that really your customer’s problem? Having systems in place and training your team will help you maintain consistency.
- Can your regular customers be reassured that there will always get the same level of service, irrespective of the time of day, week or year. Or better still, aim to raise the level of service even if just by 1% on each and every visit, so there’s always something new and you’re never seen to be complacent.
- Do you do anything to add value and wow your customer? What are the additional little touches that you can add with minimal effort or at little cost and to you, but are appreciated your customers that will give them the perception of you going the extra mile. Lots of little thoughtful touches throughout the customer journey all add up to a great experience.
- Is the level of service and attention to detail in line with your offer/product(s). You can have the most amazing product in the world, but unless its delivery matches up to this it will fail to impress.
- If and when things go wrong (and even in the most well oiled business mishaps still happen) be bold enough to admit your mistakes, apologise, rectify and move on. How you recover the situation will be what the customer remembers.
- Don’t leave that last impression to chance; make sure everything delivers right to the very end and follow-up with your customers after their visit to show your appreciation of their custom.
So remember, you’re only as good as your customer’s last experience so make sure it’s a good one, even when you are busy.
Whatever you promise you need to be able to deliver, and better still, deliver +1%. Every time!
You’ll not only keep your customers happy and get fewer complaints, but make it easier on your team, they’ll give better service and you set the stage for repeat business and a naturally loyal customer.