Oh Routine... I've missed you so much
As I start recording episodes for my new podcast, Rediscovering Main Street, I've thought about a lot of things that make up a great experience. It's not too often about the price, unless it is inexplicably high. A great experience is created when you under promise and over deliver. It can be hard a concept, because we all have an instinct that says we all want to 'brag' about our businesses when marketing, because often we feel that's how to get a new client. Keeping an existing client or getting that new client to return is much more valuable than a wealth of constantly churned new clients. Many businesses focus on getting that first transaction, but rarely the relationship or even what that transaction looks like. When they come into your store or reach out to you, what are they going to encounter? Are they going to be greeted with a smile? Are they going to be able to easily navigate your store, your website or social feeds? Will it be easy for them to do business with you or is it going to cause confusion? How about payments? Do you accept all payments or just cash? Do you offer them things that will enhance their experience or simply "upsell with a randomness" of a grocery store item of the week? Experiences are created when we take an interest in our client, when we want to give more than take. When a potential customer walks in the front door and all you see is a potential sale, we are taking. When we see a customer walk in the door and you greet them and ask how you can help, and find ways to anticipate their needs, make their world more convenient or simply offer an ear, you are giving. In the book Becoming Preferred - How to outsell your competition Michael talks about how to create effortless moments. One example in the book was that of wanting to purchase a new TV in time for the super bowl. In one store they had a great deal, but couldn't deliver until well after the event due to their "minimum delivery date policy. But when he went down the street to the other store, they were happy to deliver it before the event and weren't going to charge any extra. It's hard to say why that first store couldn't deliver until after the event, other than they require a set amount of time with no additional explanation. When you refuse to compromise or even showing a desire to help, it doesn't create a good experience. Instead, it leaves the customer feeling as though they simply don't matter enough. How are your customers feeling when they encounter you, and more importantly how do they feel 'after' they have encountered you and your business? A couple of great tips to double-check on to ensure you are creating an experience rather than a transaction are: - Ensure you have a clean welcoming space that speaks to your ideal clients - Spot check your employees, they are your representation when you aren't in the room, so double-check that they are doing things that align with the culture and values of your company, and that your customers are receiving a positive experience. - Are you offering to help? Or are you offering a product/service that could complement their purchase? I love it when I buy something and am offered something that extends the life of the product. Perhaps it's only information that will help me to better care for those items. Other times it may be an item that compliments my purchase, such as did you see the necklace that goes with that top, or a pair of gloves that matches the boots. When it comes from a place of service it never feels icky.
- but when it comes from a place of "upselling the dollars" it often comes across as sleazy. - Follow up, how often do you follow up? This is a missed opportunity that far too often businesses miss out on. Drop them a note in the mail - and yes snail mail is always better than an email - Stay in touch, send your clients and potential clients an email to keep in touch. Let them know what's new and happening. Don't use it just as a means of selling things. Use it as a communication tool, where you share ideas, content and more.