How important is Customer Service? In the crowded marketplaces that we all work in, it can be hard to stand out. To be profitable and sustainable, we need our customers and potential customers to see the value in buying from us, returning to buy again, and to bring their friends with them! There are many ways to do this, and the one strategy I hear time and time again is Customer Service. The problem with this is that all your competitors think they are competing with their great customer service too! So, what exactly IS great customer service?
Back in the 70s and 80s, customer service was pretty much considered optional, so it was easy to stand out if you had even good service. The bar was set pretty low, and nobody really minded or knew the difference. As competition grew, companies began to realize they could stand out with good or better customer service. Standing out meant repeat business, referrals, and room to raise prices as consumers showed they were willing to pay a little more for better service. Run the calendar forward 30 years and good customer service is now the minimum acceptable level of service and great customer service doesn’t give you nearly as much pricing power as it used to.
What can you do to stand out for your service now? What WILL people pay more for? If you watched my recent video on the Cycle of Business, then you know my answer to this, and if you haven’t watched it go check it out now! The answer is no longer customer service, the way to attract and retain customers/clients is by creating an Incredible Customer Experience (ICE). People remember and talk about experiences, they leave reviews about their experiences, and you stay top of mind based on their experience with you.
So how do you create this ICE? I coach our clients to perform 3 steps to take to create their ideal experience. One of the keys to making this really work is to include your team in the process – they will be the ones delivering the experience, so we might as well get their input, right?
Step 1: Evaluate the Current Experience!
Think about the lifecycle of customer interaction and evaluate every step along the way. Look at your marketing, your website, every possible way they can interact with your business before they show up to make a purchase. Then look at what happens when they contact you, making sure to look at all the different ways they can contact you (online, phone, in person, email, etc.). Now, what happens when they consider or try to buy from you, what is that like for them? And last, what is their experience after they make their purchase?
Step 2: What do you WANT your clients to experience?
What do you want them to think and feel about you from your marketing? What do you want their initial interaction with your company to be when they take an action to interact? What should they experience when they come in to buy from you? What about after their purchase? Create a model of the ideal experience – and what would make it truly incredible and unforgettable? Find the Moments of Truth in their experience – the times that they will never forget.
Step 3: Create and Implement a plan!
Dedicating your focus to implementing the new Customer Experience process you defined above is key to making it an effective change.. You will likely need to break it down into manageable steps and implement it over time. Start with the gaps you identified in Step 1 and build over time. When you are complete, you will truly have a competitive advantage, and people will be willing to pay top dollar for the experience.
If you’d like help evaluating your current client experience, or creating a new one, let us help you by scheduling a free 60-minute Strategy Session with one of our coaches. You can find a coach at https://ackentuckiana.wpengine.com/start.
Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]