Can you remember a time where you received service that left you with a smile on your face? I am asking this question so that you can pause and reflect on the standard of service you have been getting lately. Think about it, when you buy groceries, fill in petrol, buy clothes, out for dinner…have any of these shopping experiences delivered good service that left you impressed?
If you have an example – great. If you don’t have an example – you are not alone. Many business in our country forget the value of good customer experiences?
Think about your business? If you did a survey among the clients that have been to your shop in the last month – how many do you think will say that the service they got was good?
Delivering good and pleasant customer experiences is key to growing the business. Clients word if mouth has more value than paid advertising and the experience they have is a key driver to what they say about your business in their circles. It does not matter how small and in expensive the purchase is, the impact is the same.
Here are a few suggestions to consider:
1. What is the customer journey in your business and how is the experience at each step of the journey. So if you have a Car wash, the journey could be that the client drives in, parks and someone approaches them to ask what kind of wash they would like? Then, the car is parked where the washing crew will wash it? Whilst the car is washed – the owner seats on a waiting bench until their car is ready for collection.
If this is the customer journey, could you ask for the clients name when they arrive and the car wash agents introduce themselves as well? It makes the experience personal. When the car driver exits the car – could he be reminded to remove all expensive items to avoid theft? In the waiting bench – could he be offered news papers or something to drink?
The trick is to think about how the customer is treated and served from the time they arrive or call to the time they leave.
2. Train your stuff to keep in mind the customer experience. Sometimes the gaps are with the team as they are not trained to think about the value of the customer in a holistic way.
3. Identify simple and inexpensive basic ways to make the interaction with the customer special. For me, asking my name and saying thank you after buying is a big deal. There are many other ways – brainstorm with your team.
4. Design a process to deal with complaints. I have seen cases where the service experience is ok until there is a customer complaint. It’s human nature for staff to want to “defend and explain”. The problem with this reaction is that often it does not start with an apology and acknowledgment that the customer feels things have not been done right. Customer complaints are ok, your staff need to start appreciating feedback and realize that if a client has taken the effort to raise her concern – she is giving your business a chance to get it right. If she had not raised the concern – she could have quietly gone somewhere else and never returned.
Each business has to keep focus on the customer experience and remember that even your most loyal customer has an alternative place to go to!
Nontokozo is the founder of SPA88, a high-end boutique spa based in Parkhurst Johannesburg. Nontokozo is an accomplished marketer with a BCom in Marketing and Business Administration from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. She has worked in various marketing incarnations at four of the largest South African multi-nationals Standard Bank, BAT, Coca-Cola and South African Breweries