In a recent coffee shop queue, I overheard two business owners grumbling about their customers.
Deemed as a necessary evil, their customers were cast largely as ungrateful, stingy moaners.
A more positive approach should be to turn them into being thankful, generous and appreciative.
After all, customers form the bedrock of any prosperous business so there’s no place for this kind of negativity.
We also know it is harder to constantly find new customers than keep the ones you already have.
I believe EVERY customer should be entitled to receive exceptional service as standard.
A model we use at CGM is to ask business owners how they would treat a celebrity customer.
With a bit of playful cajoling, most will roll out a metaphorical red carpet, adding all kinds of frills and fancies to make the celebrity feel special.
Then we invite them to look outside in by offering this five-star service to their ‘ordinary’ customers.
What emerges from this proactive and positive process is an exciting customer experience model that is far better than previously provided – and often miles better than their competitors offer.
Most of these ‘extra mile’ facets cost little more than time, effort and consideration.
The challenge for every business owner, of course, is consistency. How to keep being exceptional and maintaining high customer experience standards particularly if you feel taken for granted.
But you can’t let the knocks weigh you down.
Most of the time busy-ness is to blame. Chasing our tails means we often forget to thank people. Pick up the phone and sort it out.
The simple act of saying thanks for your business, asking if you can do more and how things can be better can save lots of incorrect gap filling and (mis) reading between the lines.
Customer research is good. You find out what your customers really feel and think – and can plug the gaps going forward.
Most of all, by constantly working at getting it right and by maintaining good customer relations so you’ll reap the benefits loyal customers can bring.
Not only will they keep coming back for more but also, maybe with a subtle nudge now and again, they’ll be evangelical and do all the selling you need by referring you to friends, partners and colleagues.
But you need a customer experience plan in place first to make sure it all works in harmony.
That’s why How to shape a great customer experience model is the theme of March’s Business Media Club meeting on Friday, March 29 (9.45am-12.30pm) at the CGM Media Centre in Worcester.