Here’s a striking statement from The Experience Economy book, “Too many workers behave no differently on stage than they do in their private lives.” One of my best friends, Jim Bardwell who worked with me as I grew my first company, understands “creating the experience” like few I’ve ever seen. In my early seminars, Jim often did presentations for me (sometimes in costume!). He used to teach “in the service business, you’ve got to have universal appeal.” In other words, whoever your audience is, your character must appeal to them.
If your clients are conservative, you probably don’t want to look like a biker. On the other hand, if you work at Harley-Davidson, that would be an advantage. We live in such a “me” world today, that we don’t really think about customer service. And if you think about it, our children really haven’t learned how to serve. In a world of instant gratification, where we tap our foot in front of the microwave, they don’t really know what service is.
Most likely, they have never had to serve (unless smart parents intentionally had them do so, for which you have my deepest respect). Modern conveniences have eliminated the need for each other in many cases. Many can’t help their neighbor with finances because they are just as broke and in debt. If the parent does go to the neighbor’s house to help fix a car or cut up a fallen tree, where are the children? Usually playing a video game, talking on the cell phone, or watching YouTube videos. We are creating a generation that doesn’t know what service is, so we must be very intentional about teaching it to them.
Make sure your image, scripts, and procedures resonate with your niche target market. Think of Ritz-Carlton again. Their guests are high-profile, wealthy individuals. Can you afford body piercings, sloppy clothing or speech? No. The experience must be created to engage and entertain your target market. If you have a business where it’s all about speed and efficiency, then focus on that. Do everything you can to make the entire experience that way. The point is that you must create the experience that will give your perfect niche market what they want—and more.
Customer satisfaction is…worthless!
My friend Jeffrey Gitomer wrote one of the best customer service books ever—Customer Satisfaction is Worthless. Customer Loyalty is Priceless. The goal is to create loyalty.
In the book Raving Fans, legendary leadership expert Ken Blanchard and co-author Sheldon Bowles featured a loyalty ladder that goes like this:
Suspects—These are people who fit your defined target market, information that you should know as you create your customer service vision. They may or may not become customers. That depends on your marketing system.
Prospect—These are people who take some form of action. They visit your Website or come into your store. They may or may not become customers. That depends on your sales system.
Shopper (or Customer)—These are people who buy something. They may or may not return, and whether they move up the ladder (or not) depends of your operations system.
Client—People become clients when they buy a second time.
Member—Clients graduate to members once they feel they are
respected for their business and receive extra care and attention.
Advocate—People become advocates when they are very satisfied with your products and services and tell others about your business.
Raving fans—Someone is a raving fan of your business when they do the “selling” for you. The products and services exceed their expectations and they encourage others to buy.
Your Phenomenal Operations Systems along with your Phenomenal Client-Based Marketing Systems are key to bringing them back to move them up the loyalty ladder.