To create unique customer experiences, capture the essence and protocols from this recent interaction I had.
Then blend them into your marketing and business operations approach.
About this time each year, I send an email to my favorite southern Maine inn to reserve a room for my son and me. We ski at Shawnee Peak almost every winter break and the inn is just a few minutes away. We both love the comfy rooms and amenities, including the casual pub located in their basement.
The email exchange went smoothly and I said I’d call with my credit card information the next day.
The following morning after finalizing my reservation, the assistant innkeeper and I chatted for a bit about the upcoming ski season. However, what occurred next blew me away…
She asked if my son would like the chef’s homemade apple cider doughnuts again.
Her question put an enormous smile on my face.
My son means the world to me, and having another person remember something special about him was a deeply heartwarming experience. You see, last year when I scheduled my winter reservations, I asked if they could serve the doughnuts one morning because my son absolutely loves them (me too!).
Clearly, the inn has notes in their CRM system that highlight this unique fact about us.
The feel-good unique customer experience continued…
In my original email request, I wrote: I’d also like a dinner reservation at the pub.
When the innkeeper sent my room confirmation, she also included a specified time for a dinner reservation.
She assigned me a time!
As a consumer, I know I can change the time. However, I greatly appreciated that she took care of it for me. She proactively made the decision so I didn’t have to. Mind you, she probably looked back at last year’s dinner reservations to see what time I’d booked and simply repeated it. Smart and highly personalized.
More importantly, she removed decision-making, expediting my experience and securing a dinner reservation for her employer.
Email and social media have their place in marketing your business, including personalizing an email by using a prospect’s first name or reminding a shopper they have items in their cart. But, to hear a voice refer to something most people don’t know about you, that’s probably the most unique customer experience a business owner could ever create for a customer.
No amount of advertising or marketing can retain a client as efficiently and cost-effectively than one-on-one dialogue and intimate knowledge of a customer’s life, including their fears, struggles and things that make them happy.
When I’m on the phone with clients and vendors and they say something personal such as, “My daughter Rebecca is in the school play,” I’ll ask something akin to, how old is she and what part is she playing? Then I note the information in my CRM program. Because at some point, it’ll be appropriate for me to ask about Rebecca, further cementing my relationship with my client through personalization.
Customers Require Trust
The more you know about a customer or client and their desires and challenges, the more solutions you can offer them. However, first they need to trust you. Nothing builds trust and an outpouring of repeat business better than showing sincere interest in your customer’s life. Remembering little details about your customers and clients leads to an exceptional customer service experience for them.
If you’re a consultant of any kind, such as a financial advisor, attorney, doctor, home health advisor, content marketing strategist, and so on, it’s the little details that ultimately distinguish you from your competition. Sure, you may have a niche skill set, but it’s the personalized nuances that we build into our customer and client relationships that retain customers and continuously spur referrals over the long term.
I’ve been visiting this inn for 10+ years. I’ve watched the business grow from a husband and wife team doing everything, to building their business up to include a team of additional chefs, front desk staff, etc.
Which brings me to my final point.
I understand the financial restraints small business owners face when paying employees and their related expenses, etc. Been there and done that when I owned a technology business that included roughly 10 staff members. Finding the face of the business, beyond the owners, was an ongoing challenge. Still, never skimp on the person who answers your phones, sits at your reception desk, spearheads your social media responses, and so on.
Too often these jobs are filled haphazardly and with tight budgets in mind. Yet, these individuals are often the first or second interaction a customer has with your business, second only to your website, social channel or an advertisement. Today, ask yourself: Does my front-line person have the ability to fulfill impeccable customer experiences? If not, find someone more qualified. Because, ultimately, unqualified first-customer-facing-employees make your life more difficult and repel business. Sadly, often without your knowledge.
Sharron Senter is the author of Duplicate Yourself: Small Business Piggybacking & Partnership Marketing Strategies. Click cover to view the Amazon product page.
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