It’s true. Disney has set up a program which will steer customers away from your door.
How have they done this? By establishing standards by which you are measured.
This is what I mean: Every time a prospect or customer calls, walks through your door, or logs onto your home page, he or she fills out a mental report card about your business. Winning his or her initial purchase, and receiving repeat business in the future, depends upon your grades. Low grades and you lose the customer.
If you assume customers judge your company by comparison with direct competitors, you would be right -- but only in part. Your report card includes other grades which are more important.
By now, virtually everyone has visited Disney World or Disneyland. They know what it’s like to be catered to with imagination, variety, attention to the finest detail, and in spotlessly clean, bright, beautiful surroundings. They know the difference between hype claiming the customer is first, and actually experiencing it.
So an “A” in the narrow report card category of “comparison with competition” only means you are “the best of the lot.” It doesn’t mean your customers really care whether they buy from you or someone else. And it doesn’t mean you will gain customer interest or loyalty.
The important grade is the comparison your customers make with what they know “could be.” What they believe Disney would do in your field of business.
If your grade for being what you “could be” is an “A,” you will convert prospects to customers, capture customer loyalty, motivate exiting customers to buy from you again, gain a multitude of referrals, be viewed as “the” business of your type to patronize, and grow dramatically.
Can you receive an “A” without buying 10,000 acres of land and pouring a billion dollars into a customer wonderland? Absolutely. And these three steps will show you the way:
Find out what your customers want in the Disney World of your field.
We all receive survey cards asking whether we are satisfied with a particular product, service, or business. Right idea, wrong technique.
A customer may be “satisfied,” yet never return to buy more or even give a second thought before buying from your competitor. Satisfaction only means price, quality, or service met expectations. It does not mean the customer actually cared it was you with whom they did business.
Then what should customers be asked? Three questions -- all verbal, never in writing. The first is: “On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being ‘hate’, and 5 being ‘love,’ how much do you love doing business with us?”. If you object to using the word love, use “truly enjoy” or “truly like.”
Next, to insure a positive, constructive attitude, ask why they chose that number, rather than a lower one. Ex.: “What rates us as a 4, rather than a 3?". Finally ask: “What would a 5 be like?”. If you are already rated at 5, ask: “What would a 6 be like?”.
In place of guesswork and assumptions, this survey tells you specifically what you need to get your “A.” But don’t stop after the first round or questioning. Once you make changes, start again. Press to find out: “If you could image a “6” or even “7” -- if you could imagine the Disney World of our type of business, what would it be like.”
Do an internal audit which examines each point of contact with your customers. For each one, ask the question: “How can I make my customers’ experience easier and more enjoyable?”.
Making things easy is important because you always receive poor grades when delays, obstacles, customer effort, or frustration occurs. But don’t expect a gold star if everything is easy. Easy is expected. The true goal is not simply an easy experience, but one which is enjoyable.
Will you say that your business doesn’t lend itself to an “enjoyable experience” . . . that the best you can offer is a smile and a “thank you?” May I chide you with an example from the most routine, humdrum purchase we all make -- filling our cars with gasoline?
In the San Francisco Bay area, one particular gas station charges more than anyone else, yet pumps three times the volume expected for a station of its size. How can this be? When you pull up to a pump, an attendant opens your door and asks you to step out. You are then handed a free copy of USA Today and invited into in a lounge area. While you read the paper and sip your complimentary coffee, gas is pumped, fluids are checked, and the inside of your car is cleaned. Now that is an enjoyable visit to a gas station.
Capture the cumulative insight and experience of your employees by motivating them to provide suggestions for improving systems, customer service, marketing, and anything else that will help the business.
Do not simply ask for suggestions, but motivate with incentives. These do not have to be large, and can be non-monetary such as prepaid calling cards. The key is that an incentive is immediate, comes from “the top,” and is accompanied by a sincere “thank you.” Even if the suggestion will not be implemented or is not particularly clever, acknowledging the effort with a reward encourages and stimulates employee participation in developing strategies which win customers. Naturally, truly valuable ideas should be compensated with a greater reward.
All steps complete? Then implement. And never, never believe these approaches are fine in theory or suitable for the big boys, but not your business. If that were true, the small company started by a young man named Walt, working with little more than his imagination, a pen, and a mouse, would not be the standard against which your business is judged.
About the Author:
Bob Redler, a Business Growth Strategist, works with business owners to provide the freedom and security of immediate and continually increasing sales, profits, and net worth through state-of-the-art marketing, management, and growth strategies.
You can visit Bob at http://www.breakthrough-growth.com. Find his New Special Report “A Road Map For Turning Your Business Into Gold” at http://www.breakthrough-growth.com/roadmap.htm.