Can I have that in a nice glass, please? Presenting a premium product
Whenever we’ve dined in nice restaurants in Italy, my husband and I have noticed you can normally tell how much someone’s spent on their wine by the size of the wine glasses; it appears that the more expensive the wine, the bigger the glass!
This means that when you order wine and are left with the same boring wineglasses, as in the original table layup you feel as if you’re being a bit of a cheapskate, and it has a negative impact on the customer experience.
It’s not just Italian restaurants that can leave you feeling this way; there are lots of occasions when customers can be treated differently, leaving them feeling a little inferior. This affects the customer experience, which in turn will influence how much more they are likely to spend, their willingness to come back, the type of review they might give you, and their confidence in recommending that business to others.
Here are 3 situations which come to mind.
Low margin promotions – upgrades to premium
The objective of many a promotion is to bring new people through your doors, whether that’s through a third party such as Secret Escapes or Red Letter Days, or an internal promotion. In many cases these will be low margin, or maybe even at a cost for the business, which is normally seen as part of your marketing spend.
Of course, that investment is wasted if any new customers you have attracted fail to spend any more than the basic price or have such a mediocre experience there’s nothing to compel them to come back again.
What your customers experience when taking up these promotions should be just as good as anyone paying full price; if not, you probably blow the opportunity to sell them anything at full price at a later date. If they don’t get a wow first impression, forget the upsells, the return visits or the glowing reviews.
It’s imperative your team understand this too. Ensure they give the same warm welcome to these customers as they would for anyone else and be particularly conscience of the language they use; the last thing you want customers to feel is second-class.
In fact, it might feel contra to our instincts, but look for ways you can add even more value. What are the little extras you can offer which are low cost to you, but have a perceived high-value to your customers? For a very minimal additional cost you might be able to upgrade a customer to a premium product, which – once they’ve experienced this once – they want every time in future.
Wanting alternatives – offer a premium product
At the PUB20 Show earlier this month, there was quite a big focus on no or low alcoholic drinks. I sat in a talk by James Morgan from Nine Elms who stated “all guest deserve a great experience”. I quite agree; I’m not tee-total but neither am I a big drinker; the most I ever have when I’m out is one glass of wine, and if driving, not even that. But sometimes I feel non-drinkers get a poor choice.
There are so many reasons why somebody might decide not to drink: they’re driving, reducing their calorie intake, workplace regulations (banning lunchtime drinking), religion, pregnancy. One might argue that if you don’t want to drink why would you go to a pub or wine-bar? You probably go along as that’s where all your mates are, in the same way as when people go out to eat, if you’re vegetarian or vegan you don’t just eat vegetarian restaurants or vegan restaurants.
Forbes research has suggested that 86% of customers will pay more for a better experience. So, in this instance, rather than offering a drinks menu that feels like it’s an inferior product, why not upgrade to a premium product and served in a way that reflects a premium product.
I know when I’m out and drinking if all I have to choose from is a sweet fizzy post-mix drink or a glass of sparkling water, served in a chunky tumbler, I feel a bit left out, and probably end up nursing that drink all evening. Whereas if I have a premium non-alcoholic cocktail served in a quality glass with a beautiful garnish, I’m far more likely to keep pace with my friends and join in on each round.
Result? I’ve had a better experience; you’ve sold more drinks and probably each of those drinks with a far bigger margin. Win-win.
I’ve used the example of alcohol v. non-alcoholic drinks, but the same principle applies in all kinds of situations: food offerings, pillow menus, quiet areas, express lanes, it’s all about choice.
As a customer, we all make mistakes from time to time. Not intentionally of course, we might end up arriving 30 minutes late for our booking. Or we hadn’t realised we needed to pre-order a particular item. Or we’ve ordered something that is not quite what we expected because we’ve mis-read or misinterpreted the description.
This isn’t the time to blame or argue with the customer, even if they are in the wrong! It’s actually an opportunity to shine… To empathise with the customer and help find a solution. Start with what you can’t do for them, but then say what you can do to help.
It might mean offering them an alternative – even an upgrade of the original request to a premium product, at no extra cost to them. This might feel counter intuitive, but it might even mean referring them to a competitor. But you’ll be remembered for leaving the customer with a solution and a positive experience rather than making them feel even worse than they do already for messing up!
If you only do two things:
- Always look for the win-win – Remember you want your customers to have a good enough experience that they want to come back. Give them the perception of a premium product even if it’s just putting it in the ‘nice glass’.
- Train your team so they know the options, when to offer a premium product and how to present it so it feels premium