A friend told me about her recent experience with buying a refrigerator. She ordered it from a big box retailer (who shall remain nameless) and, unfortunately, it showed up on the delivery truck with a dent.
My friend decided that the dent warranted good reason to ask about a discount. She was told the company would take $50 off and that was it. Not the customer experience she was hoping for.
She countered that she was willing to keep the refrigerator at a $200 discount. Nope. No go. Period!
Instead, the company ordered her another refrigerator.
But my friend’s story gets even more interesting…
The sales associate passed by and asked if she needed help. She inquired about the refrigerator that was so drastically reduced and told the associate she’d like to buy it. But there was one caveat…she had another on order that she would like to cancel.
They did the paperwork and the next day her refrigerator was delivered – by the same delivery guy who was there the first time around. Yep! He got a good laugh out of it.
Now, I get the thought behind what the big box retailer did.
- They had a full-price fridge already sold, so why discount it a crazy amount?
- Instead, bring the damaged goods back to the store, discount it, and sell it again!
- Two products sold instead of only one.
But what about the customer’s experience?
What did my friend’s customer experience with this big box company actually COST them?
Had my friend not gone into the store the next day (or at least not until the store had sold the dented fridge) none would be the wiser. But she did!
- What do you think her feelings towards this big box retailer are now?
- How many others will she share her customer experience with?
- How will others who hear her story look at this big box retailer?
- What potential effect could her story have on this big box retailer’s local sales?
This story got me to thinking about the customer experience in business.
Why are so many companies willing to work so hard to make NEW sales, yet continue to really stink at rewarding their existing customers?
I always think about satellite TV promotions and how great they are. (Heck, makes me wish I didn’t already have what I have since I’m just not willing to switch to the other and back again.) Still, what reward do I get for being a loyal, paying customer for the past 10 years? Nada!
Some businesses get this, like airlines with their “frequent flyer miles”, restaurants with their “buy 10 meals get one free” promotions. They’re not giving the free stuff upfront to acquire you. They are rewarding you for using their service over and over.
Zappos is a great example of customer experience. Their “the customer is always right” attitude is well-known and during a recent tour of their offices in Las Vegas, I also found out they often send cards, chocolates, and flowers to their customers!
Customer experience also includes visiting grocery stores and having baggers help unload the grocery cart, bag the groceries and put them back in the cart. Some grocery chains even go as far as helping to take the groceries to your car.
It’s a given that the customer experience should always include service. But it’s the feeling of being rewarded that takes the customer’s experience to that of “satisfied”, with the potential for “repeat” status.
As an entrepreneur, you may not think about the impact of answering your phone when it rings, but this can be where giving your customers the positive customer experience they desire starts.
Sending a card or just touching base with your client to see how things are going costs you very little, but the results can be long-lasting. If you don’t normally communicate with clients on such a level, this is the sort of ‘human touch’ that will build and strengthen your relationship with just about anyone.
You have the power to turn every customer or client into a satisfied one with whom you do repeat business.
I’ve read that it costs anywhere from 5 to 10 times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep existing ones. Keeping this in mind, what would your answers be to the following questions:
- How much are you willing to pay to ensure that your customers have the right experience?
- How much does it cost you every time you fail to provide a customer the kind of experience they deserve?
- What can you do in your business to let your existing clients know that you appreciate them?
- What are some of the rewards to both you and your clients when the client experience is “done right”?
Of course, there will always be something you can do ‘better’ in your business. But getting the customer service experience right will always cost you less than many of the other things you may be choosing to spend your money on.
The ROI for creating a great customer experience consistently rewards in all the right ways!
By the way, I’m rewarding entrepreneurs, just like YOU. Check it out! Let me show you why investing in you is a great way to provide your clients with the right customer experience.