If you can deliver service that’s so good it delights your customers, they’ll want to tell their friends about it, increasing their loyalty to your business and producing customer referrals for you, too.
Since word-of-mouth is universally the best way to win customers, there’s every reason to make delivering Peak Service a real priority for your business. Read on to find out how…
When customers feel let down or dissatisfied with your service, they will quietly vote with their feet. For every one that complains, ten will quietly shuffle off to pastures new and never mention their unhappiness.
The result is that eventually you’re losing customers as fast as you find new ones, so your business stands still no matter how good your marketing efforts.
Building an exceptional customer experience is a deliberate strategy for the growth of your business. It’s not a choice, it’s an essential component of a smart growth plan.
In this article, you’ll learn about the three levels of service to consider for truly brilliant customer service:
- Essential Service – Satisfy your customers with consistent delivery of what’s expected of your service
- Premium Service – Raise your business above the mediocrity of competitors with little touches that transform the customer experience
- Peak Service – Give your customers a reason to refer you that’s not about financial reward
Here are the blueprints for creating an essential customer experience.
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Customer Experience Blueprint 1: Essential Service for Satisfied Customers
As a customer, there’s nothing worse than feeling let down, like the business you’re buying from does not care about you.
In truth, as business owners we do care about all of our customers, but you know how little things can go wrong and cause problems for the customer experience. You can’t expect your customers to give you the benefit of the doubt when they have the option to just go shop elsewhere.
Instead, your business needs to have standards for service so that customers feel they can rely upon you to deliver what they want, every time.
And if those standards sometimes slip, a customer will feel let down.
A single dissatisfied customer will tell 11 people of their bad experience. And if they’re into social media or review sites like Facebook, Twitter or TripAdvisor, the bad news may spread fast.
You simply cannot afford to have no standards, or to let standards slip sometimes.
Standards are not real if you don’t have them clearly written down, built into your business practices and fully understood and followed by your team.
This is the most basic level of service. If you don’t get this right, you will bleed customers and constantly struggle to replace them. It doesn’t produce great loyalty, but it’s essential for healthy business.
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Customer Experience Blueprint 2: Premium Service Increases Customer Loyalty
While Essential Service is consistently delivering what customers expect, Premium Service adds a whole series of extra little touches that tell your customers they matter to you.
This might mean little touches like flowers left on the bed in your room at a holiday hotel when you arrive, or a holding their chairs as they are seated in your restaurant, or sending them a Christmas card unexpectedly. It will vary for each business and also on your own character, but these touches, something dentist Paddi Lund calls Critical None-Essentials, make a profound difference to the way your customers feel about your business.
A truly premium service provides extra value for which your clients will be willing to pay extra. With an airline’s economy ticket there are no frills. Meanwhile business class customers have greater legroom, bigger, more comfortable seats, better food and far more attentive service.
Business class customers therefore often pay three times the price (or more) and major airlines like British Airways make far more profit from their business customers than from the ordinary flyers on the plane.
A mortgage broker client has his back-office team contact the clients every 3 days while they are waiting for their mortgage to process, unless they’ve been told there will be a longer wait for a specific reason. This lets the client know the broker is on the case for them and stops the client from worrying that things aren’t getting done.
So, what can you do in your business to offer a higher class of service that would not only distinguish your business from the competition but also provide scope for offering a truly premium pricing model too?
Premium service is not about generating referrals, although it will help to achieve that. It’s real focus is to encourage a real sense of customer loyalty, so that competitors will simply be unable to steal clients away from you.
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Customer Experience Blueprint 3: Peak Service Increases Customer Referrals
What makes customers freely provide you with referrals?
Obviously you’ve got to make sure your service is always beyond the everyday and ordinary…
But once you’ve done this, giving your business a little bit of an extraordinary edge is precisely what Peak Service is all about.
The secret is to do something so unusual or special on a routine basis for your customers that they will feel compelled to tell their friends about it.
Sometimes this can be a bold statement – like the dentist with an oven in his waiting room, masking the smell of dentistry from his patients and letting them eat tooth-friendly cakes as part of the bargain. That’s a really unusual thing that customers will want to tell as a story whenever they chat to friends.
And when they tell their friends, they’re enthusing in such a way that they are creating referrals. If the story is good enough, or creates sufficient curiosity, they won’t be able to resist seeing for themselves.
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