How exceptional is the customer experience you provide your customers? Most CEOs will go as far as saying their customer service is why their customers do business with them. However, I encourage you not to just say “we provide great customer service” but to really investigate that question.
First, it is likely that your competitors also say they have great customer service. Second, and more importantly, have you actually asked your customers about their experience with you? Too often, the answer to this question is “no.”
This morning I went to have my winter tires put on my car and had exactly the kind of terrible customer experience that any business should do its best to avoid. Now, here in Denver we are in the middle of a week of snowstorms, so everyone wants to have their winter tires put on. Being like everyone else, I went to the tire place (that I have frequented for some time now) and arrived well before they opened at 7:00 a.m. In my previous experiences this establishment has always operated on a first come, first serve basis, but this time, things had changed.
When they eventually opened a few minutes after 7:00, I walked in with the other early bird arrivals. Red flag number one: the service advisor opted to serve the male patrons first. When the advisor eventually got to me, he asked if I had an appointment. I replied, “no, you have always been first come first serve.” He then told me that they only work by appointments now. I explained I wasn’t aware of that, since there hadn’t been any notifications, emails, etc. Red flag number two: he just shrugged his shoulders and said I could leave the car and they would “try” to squeeze me in. Let’s just say, he was not nice, empathetic, or flexible. At a minimum, he could have offered me the next available appointment. Instead, he acted totally unconcerned with my experience of the business.
Needless to say, I left with my winter tires still in the back of my car. I had a lot of work to do, but the incident stuck with me. Later in the day, on a whim, I stopped by a different tire place. I walked in, asked if, by any chance, they could put on my winters. After checking their availability, the service advisor came back and said, “yes, we will get you in right away.”
Let’s talk about how great I feel about this experience. They were accommodating. They were polite. They told me about how long it would take. I got what I needed, when I needed, and the price was totally right. Suffice to say, this will be my new tire store when it comes to taking winters on/off and purchasing new tires when needed.
Regardless of your industry, are you making sure your business provides the kind of customer experience that will turn people away or keep them coming back? How do you measure your customer’s experience? What does a great experience look like for your customers?
A superb customer experience should generate revenue. You will get repeat business from the customer and they will refer you to their friends and family. You can use Net Promoter Score for a quick survey that will tell you a lot about the service you’re providing.
Don’t take the customer experience you provide for granted. It makes a huge difference. If you don’t care and think your offer stands on its own, so be it. But often for small to mid-sized businesses exceptional customer experiences are critical.
Let me know how you measure and track the experiences of your customers.
By Blair Koch