Excellent, Excellent, Excellent
My good friend, Dr. Bill, and I have lunch about once a quarter. One of the reoccurring themes of our conversations is the competitive advantage organizations gain by providing a superior customer experience.
Bill told me he likes to eat at Subway at least once a week, but he doesn't go to the Subway that is nearest to his office. He drives past it and goes an extra mile further down the road. So why is he willing to go the extra mile for his Subway lunch? The restaurant he prefers has more staff, up to five or six people instead of only two or three, and they have free chocolate chip cookies on Friday.
I wonder if any of your potential customers are driving by your business to get the same or a similar product from a competitor because they feel they receive better customer service. If there has ever been a time when superior customer service that leads to a superior customer experience provided a competitive advantage, it is now. How do you know how you're doing? How do you survey your customers? How do you find out how customers rate their experience? If you think that the complaints and comments you hear are giving you a complete picture of your customers' experience, you are sadly mistaken.
I am amazed at the lengths national chains are going to today to secure meaningful customer feedback. If you're in business-to-business selling or in a small, independent retail business, it can be difficult and challenging to get an honest, accurate picture of your customer's experience.
Earlier this week, my wife, Donna Lee, and I had lunch at Shari's. From the beginning, our waitress was friendly and helpful. We took a long time to finally decide on what we wanted. She came back to our table two or three times. Each time we said, "We're not quite ready." She never made us feel like we were under any pressure. When we finally ordered, she brought a
refill on my iced tea, and continued to ask us how things were. She even asked us about the portion size.
When she brought the bill, she said, "If you'll call this number, you'll get a code which will entitle you to a free piece of pie. When you take the survey, just remember it's 'excellent, excellent, excellent.'" Today there's often some incentive for completing these customer opinion surveys – complete the survey, you're entered into a contest, you get a free taco, or in this case, a free piece of pie. I still don't do it most of the time, but I did this time because of the way the waitress presented the opportunity. Guess what? I selected "excellent, excellent, excellent" as she had coached me. You know we're all suggestible. What is your plan to insure you get "excellent, excellent, excellent" ratings? The first step is to survey your customers, find out exactly how you're doing, and train your team to focus on the overall customer service experience.
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