Businesses re-opening after lengthy lockdowns, will need to address the changes to economic activity, changing cultural norms, societal values and behaviours bought on by the COVID pandemic.
But there’s more to it than that – keeping your customers at the center of your business – it’s more important now than ever before.
Put yourself in their shoes. What’s important to you when choosing a business to buy from or do business with?
Is it mainly because you like and trust the product?
Is it because it’s locally made, and you want to support local?
Or is it because of the way the business makes you feel when you interact with the staff and owner?
Delivering a 10 out of 10 Customer Experience Is All About Delivering A Positive Feeling
If you’re not ‘selling a positive feeling’, your customers will quickly move on to greener pastures.
It is important to consider how people feel when you engage them whilst selling your product or a service.
For example, when we speak to our clients customers, the customers who give the highest Net Promoter Scores are always the customers that said:
“I felt like they really listened to me”
“I felt like they explained things clearly”
“I felt they really wanted to serve me, they clearly enjoy their jobs”
“I felt well taken care of”
These customers actually mentioned the feelings in the research findings.
So, take on that you’re ‘selling a feeling’ not just a product or service and think about what you will do to create a positive feeling for your customers.
To read more about selling a positive feeling, refer to my previous blog here.
Customers form many impressions about your customer service before any direct interaction with staff takes place.
This includes how they feel about you and your business.
Customers judge you on three things
The moment a customer interacts with you whether on your website, on the telephone, or at the counter it is important that you leave a positive impression.
Don’t take for granted that your customers know your priorities and the service standards you have put into place to ensure your customers excellent experience on their first visit back.
Service from a distance – 80% of their buying decision is made before you serve your customer.
It is critical as a business that your first touch point from a distance lets your customers know how you intend to take care of them and what you may need from them to support you in doing so.
If your customers are ordering or making a booking on the telephone this is an ideal opportunity to explain what may have changed and what you may need from them so that they will feel well taken care of.
Clearly state your new customer service standards but keep your message light and easy to understand.
By doing so customers are left with the experience that they are valued, appreciated and that you care about their wellbeing, especially in this current situation. Some examples below:
- we are limited to 20 people so your booking today will ensure your table
- we will need you to fill out a form including you address whilst you are dining with us
Think about the best person on your team to meet and greet your customers.
Teams are made up of many individuals and different skill sets, they all come together to create the whole.
Who is the person or persons on your team that shine in the area of customer engagement?
They are bright and uplifting naturally in their manner and tone of voice.
They have great posture stand upright and directly face the customer when meeting and greeting
They naturally hold eye-contact
They smile with a natural toothy smile
They are well groomed
They have a great personality and people skills
It is important at that this person or person/s is able to let your customers know:
The care you have taken
Any changes in the way your business now operates
What they can expect from you and your team
Remember you are ‘selling a feeling’ it must be consistent so ensure you have your best people in the right places when interacting with your customers. Aces in the right places!
It is the consistency you and your team provide ‘every time’ that will not only have your business stand out but ensure your customers come back.
To read more refer to my previous blog Aces In The Right Places.
What about your most important asset – your team?
How are you taking care of them? Have you supported your team in adapting to new ways of doing things?
New ways of delivering excellence via frontline customer service for example?
- What new service standards have you put in place?
- How have you communicated these service standards and the reasons why to your team?
- How have you trained and upskilled your team to deliver on these service standards?
- Are you testing, measuring, and monitoring your teams ability to deliver on these new standards?
And then there is managing the government safety restrictions?
How are you supporting your team in feeling comfortable to discuss the governments safety requirements and processes?
Have your thought about what it is like for them to ask people to do things that don’t normally do?
Have you provided training on how you expect them to approach customers who are not necessarily following the new safety requirements?
Are they clear on how they should respond if someone becomes hostile? For example, I completely understand how you feel, although we are required to do this.
Re-opening is also a great opportunity to increase ‘Good Profit’ sales
Lockdown and COVID restrictions have in fact caused a huge impact on business financially, and as we re-open there are many businesses who are hoping to rebuild their financial position.
Loyal customers will continue to do business with you! They will willingly adapt to your new business model and purchasing methods,
they will purchase online
they will use your delivery option
they will ‘click and collect’
Loyalty is about looking after your customers and making a difference, especially during tough times.
You don’t need to offer discounts and at the same time you don’t need to charge ridiculous amounts of money it’s NEVER about price gouging.
When times are tough it is customer loyalty – word of mouth referrals and repeat business that will impact the survival rate of a business.
Savvy business people will look for ways to package complimentary items to create a perceived value for their customers whilst generating increased profit margins, this equates to ‘Good Profit’ as it is not at the expense of the customer.
For example, coffee and cake deal or a kid’s meal with a drink and dessert deal
The drinks do not cost the retailer much, whereas there is good honest profit made on the food. So, you’re still making more money than if they only purchased a coffee or a drink for their child.
Customers like to know about the deals or specials available to them. They like to know about things that are beneficial to them.
Just putting up a sign or adding a new deal to the specials board isn’t enough, take the time to speak with each of your customers and let them know the deals you have put together for them.
As Warren Buffet says,
“Price is what you pay; value is what you get”.
My point is how your customers perceive value is more based on the experience they get when purchasing and using the product or service they have paid for rather than the price they paid.
Experience + Quality = Value = Low Price Conversation
When your customers experience a high level of value, you can count on them to recommend your business because of the value they receive and they will be saying It’s worth every cent’, It’s really fantastic.
So having your team talking about the specials or having your team talk about their favourite meals, creates great opportunities to mention things that are perceived by the customer value and that’s a win-win for everybody.
You don’t need to discount on the base product but look to add value like we mentioned earlier with a package deal.
The customer gets good deal, and the business has made more money.
For example, I recently heard of a website that deals in clothing, they offer brands from all around the world, and they are always marketing, and their marketing is fantastic.
The thing their customers mention is this – what I love most about them, is that their range is huge, and they always have really great packages.
Clearly, they are making their profit margin but they’re putting together packages that become easy to purchase and they are really good value.
So, whether they’re clearing stock or focusing on promo, they put it together well for the end user and it becomes a viable purchase.
Re-opening for success and having your customers choose you and your business is about providing a high-quality service and an excellent customer experience every time.
Every touch point, by every employee, every day, without fail, no exceptions.
If you would like to have a chat with me about ‘The Keys To Keep Your Customers Coming Back’ and customer loyalty best practice contact me I look forward to hearing from you.