By: Bob Pacanovsky
If you’re a Seinfeld fan (like I am), you probably remember the episode at the car rental counter where Jerry went to pick up his rental car, but it wasn’t there. He said something like, “You can take the reservation, but you can’t hold the reservation. And holding the reservation is the key”!
That’s the same with getting new customers. It’s easy to get them, but can you keep them and turn them into Brand Ambassadors who become your loyal and raving fans who can’t wait to tell your story about how you are making them feel.
This is easier said than done, and it involves a missing link between just getting a customer (customer service) and holding on to them (customer experience). That link is the Power of Hospitality, the art of making a personal connection to someone. Isn’t this what we should all be doing with all our customers?
However, after years of research, I have found seven secrets that do not use the Power of Hospitality. Of course, if you follow these secrets, you may not have any customers left at all!
Seven Secrets to “Not so Great” Service
1. Create a “blah” first impression about your company, your products or your people. We have precious seconds to get it right and to start the experience on the right foot.
2. Take your time returning phone calls and emails. As I am writing this, I am still waiting for a return call from a possible vendor who I actually was going to give business to, but that was three days ago. Now, I am not.
3. Create a transaction, not an experience. Every opportunity to get new business may not be an experience but could be friendlier and show that we care about the person on the other end of the transaction.
4. Spend more time talking rather than listening. Do you want to make a sale or create a potential relationship? Listening shows you want to solve your customers’ challenges.
5. Be reactive with your customers, not proactive. Would you rather apologize or anticipate? Be one step ahead of your customers, not two steps behind.
6. Overpromise and under deliver. Has a vendor promised the “moon, and you barely got the sky? Customers rarely forget if you underperform or under deliver.
7. Forget to thank them for their business. We sometimes take our customers for granted. Random acts of gratitude and appreciation go a long way.
When we look at the customer experience, we need to make sure that these seven behaviors are not the way we function. When we address them by consistent, positive actions, we have a much better opportunity to retain our customers rather than always looking for new ones. This means training our people to go above and beyond to focus on creating an experience that is rooted in hospitality.
Bob Pacanovsky is a keynote speaker and trainer who works with companies and organizations to develop the Black Tie Experience—creating an impression that LASTS through leadership, customer service, and hospitality.
To learn more, contact Bob Pacanovsky at Bob@BobPacanovsky.com.