Roy's Blog: August 2010
August 31, 2010
A Dazzling service experience has a very specific outcome for the customer. They are left respected, cared for, sometimes speechless and gasping for breath. Dazzling Moments are created by people. People who actually care about human beings and who get joy from serving them.
In his new book Linchpin, Seth talks about the emotional labor that is expended by artists in giving a Gift to others. In this case the Gift is the experience delivered to another human being without any expectation of a return for the favor other than enjoyment. Gift givers are the serving folks we all must covet if we want our organizations to be remarkable, memorable, indispensable and around for a long time.
There are two key things we need to keep in mind as we aspire to giving a Gift of a Dazzling Moment:
First, focus on the individual. BE PeRSONAL. Look for ways to make the experience they have with you more personal. Look at the experience from their point of view and ask the question “What could we do to make their experience more enjoyable, easier and respectful of their time with you?”. And make sure you are flexible in how you treat people recognizing that each person is DiFFERENT and should receive their own personal brand of service. Workshop the BE PeRSONAL task with your team and ask a sample of your customers how you can make their experience with you More personal.
Lululemon does many things right. They post their customer’s names on the fitting room doors (AND they confirm the spelling if uncertain). They have what I call “The 3-minute check” procedure where a sales rep checks in with the customer to see if they need another size, color etc. They don’t leave a person in the fitting room stranded (and asking their spouse to go get another size - I hate having to do that!).
Second, keep it SiMPLE. A Dazzling Moment is about simple human acts: caring, smiling, respect, humor and enjoyment. These outcomes don’t require a complex set of service algorithms and procedures. In fact quite the opposite. Complexity breeds confusion and separateness for people. SiMPLE service acts create closeness, intimacy and happiness. Consider the Godin “Gift” metaphor. What simple Gifts can you give to your customers while they grace you with their presence? Human-to-human kindness? Goes a long way to keep ‘em coming back.
Here are a few PeRSONAL and SiMPLE acts that I have personally experienced:
- quoting my name off of my credit card/debit card receipt after a retail purchase.
- having a bottle of wine (based on my personal preference) waiting for me in my stateroom on a cruise.
- picking up and returning my vehicle for a scheduled servicing.
- faster delivery of a purchased product than what I was promised.
- getting the first round of cocktails free when we return after a lengthy absence to at our favorite lounge in Whistler.
- receiving a SURPRISE 10% off of our drycleaning bill to thank us for being loyal customers.
PeRSONAL and SiMPLE service enhancements for each member of your tribe. The returns will be extraordinary.
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Other Serving Articles
Have You Had a High Definition Moment Lately?
Are You a Customer Opportunity Spotter?
Create Your Service Strategy
The Serving Customers Model
Dazzle Your Customers: The Four-Step Process
August 25, 2010
I recently had the opportunity to present my book, BE DiFFERENT or be dead to an energetic group of book lovers at Village Books in Bellingham, Washington. As an aside, this store REALLY understands how to promote this type of an event and make the Author feel welcomed and valued.
After my formal presentation of the highlights of my book, an engaging conversation ensued over the BE DiFFERENT Practice of selecting WHO you want to SERVE in your strategy and then treating these folks in a special way - unlike the way you would treat the rest of your customers. The notion here is that you need to carefully select the customer group that you want to apply your scarce resources to - typically the group that has the greatest potential of satisfying your growth goals - and then loving them to death in order to create raving loyal fans.
This one particular woman was very uncomfortable with the prospect of varying the way she treated her customers and in particular doing something ‘out of the ordinary’ for any particular group. In fact she said she wouldn’t feel right doing it.
Of course, to many businesses selecting a particular group of customers to treat in a special way is a new approach. Retailers generally don’t do it. Everyone is treated the same way whether they are high value customers (i.e. people who generate significant wealth for the business) low value or no value.
I think there are a few reasons why they choose not to vary the way they treat their customers:
> they don’t know who their high value customers are. They are not able to identify them.
> if they DO know who they are, they don’t spend any time trying to discover the ‘Secrets’ of this Class A group. If you don’t know their Secrets it’s tough to give them extraordinary treatment.
> they don’t have a great deal of repeat business so they don’t think the discipline is worth it.
> it’s way easier to treat everyone the same.
Regardless of the reason, creating unique experiences for those customers who give a business a disproportionate amount of revenue deserves DiFFERENT treatment. If you don’t, expect your ‘Lowest Common Denominator’ strategy to see many of your top customers opt-out of your business. You’ll be left with the vagrants and an unhealthy bottom line.
My message to this retailer:
>> know your high value customers.
>> keep track of how much all of your customers spend with you. Focus on the precious few that give you 80% of your revenue.
>> keep records of what products they buy. The more you know about their purchase behavior the better you be at delivering dazzling service to them
>> get to know your Top Guns by name. And their spouse. And their children.
>> discover their Secrets. Be a note-taking maniac.
>> ask questions. Show an interest in them as human beings and what they are all about.
>> LISTEN to them.
>> problem solve. Amazing what happens when you help them out.
The ‘Worthy’ deserve your special attention. Do it and separate yourself from most others who won’t do it cause it’s too much trouble and takes too much time. You will be astounded by the return!
August 20, 2010
I read an interesting blog article recently by Seth Godin titled Choosing Your Customers. Seth’s view which I agree with is that you really have a choice who to do business with. The marketer has an array of tools to select the Fans she wants: the Value provided, price and distribution to name a few.
I would like to add another dimension to the discussion, however, as I don’t think Seth goes far enough. Customer selection is much more than a marketing task. It is a fundamental element of an organization’s strategy. And the selection decision needs to be integrated with the overall direction the company intends to take.
Let me explain. The Strategy Creation Process I have talked extensively about involves answering three questions. For the complete discussion check out the blog Articles referenced below. For my purposes here I will talk about only the first two questions.
1. HOW BIG do you want to be? Start with your overall growth goals. Do you want to grow top line revenue by 10% over the next 12 months or 25%? It makes a difference. A 25% growth target is more aggressive and more risky and will require a different strategy than a 10% growth goal.
2. WHO do you want to SERVE? This is the customer selection decision. And it needs to b made within the context of the HOW BIG question. This is where Seth’s Article in my view oversimplified the issue. The customer choice needs to be made within the context of HOW BIG. It can’t be made on its own using micro-marketing tools. A 25% growth goal requires a customer group that has the latent potential to deliver that type of growth. Selecting a group of customers based on any other criteria will result in missed financial targets.
Bottom Line: Choose a group of customers that has the inherent capability to satisfy your growth goals, THEN use marketing tools to attract and keep them.
August 18, 2010
Chip Bell, in his latest customer service book, “Take Their Breath Away” refers to the process to ensure that the appropriate organizational mechanisms to recover from a service mishap, broken promise or breakdown as ‘Betrayal Management’.
Here is my short-hand version of the Leadership Acts that must be played out if Dazzling Recovery is to be a way of life in any business:
1. Service Strategy - dazzling recovery doesn’t happen through serendipity. It requires a comprehensive strategy defining the outcomes expected and the way to achieve them. Focus on EXECUTION. EXECUTION.
2. Togetherness - the relationship between the customer, the breakdown event and the organization must be TIGHT. Seamless recovery demands all components working unbelievably well together.
3. Connectivity - establish hyper-communications to enable the recovery process: customer contact when the disaster event happens, follow up, status reports and final resolution.
4. ‘Secrets’ - if you don’t know the secrets of the person screwed over, you have little chance to dazzle. Find out what would the customer would NOT expect. Remember, a Dazzling Recovery = Fixing the mistake + Doing the Unexpected. The Surprise Factor.
5. Problem Solving - amazing skill wanted in this area that are second-to-none.
6. Celebration - recognize and reward Service Recovery Heroes.
7. Story Telling - dazzling recovery stories are continually filling the airwaves breathing life into the Recovery Strategy.
8. Training - give employees the skills to EXECUTE dazzling recovery is a high priority.
9. ‘The Right to Act’ - empower people responsibly to ensure that the earth is moved to enact the dazzle process.
10. Measurement - set recovery objectives and measure constantly. Post results in the workplace.
11. Accountability - bake recovery expectations into leader Performance Plans. Make it matter.
Final point: make sure you have people in the recovery process that ‘like humans’. Employees that actually care about rectifying the breakdown event and going the extra mile to blow the customer away are needed. Human being indifference will only result in a more infuriated customer who will leave and tell others how bad you are.
Related Service Blog Articles
Te Service Strategy
The Serving Customers Model
Serving Customers NOT Providing Customer Service
The Four Steps to Dazzle Customers
Customer Contact: A Moment of Strategic Opportunity