In the February 2014 No B.S. Marketing Letter (available by clicking here for members, FREE Trial For Non-Members), I mentioned that my family couldn’t stop talking about how nice the people from Cambria (the producer of custom counter tops we ordered) were.
While I was giving you an example of Outrageous Advertising, I think it’s important to note that my family and I don’t tend to talk about products or service that just meets our expectations. We only talk about the kind that either fails to meet or significantly exceeds our expectations.
As I said, my family told no less than 15 people within 10 days of their experience with Cambria. Had Cambria not gone the extra mile and had they just received adequate or good customer service, they probably wouldn’t have told anyone about Cambria.
What about you? When do you talk about businesses or professional services?
If you’re like most people, it’s only when customer service dramatically impresses or exceeds your expectations that you begin to create word-of-mouth advertising and referrals.
Conversely, service has to be really bad before you starting warning people to avoid a company at all costs.
The thing is, often it only takes one or two “little touches” to create exceptional service.
Some examples, the Omni Hotel in downtown Chicago is known for their extra touches. For instance, a guests travelling with young children receives a rolling backpack filled with toys, books and fun things to do for their kids upon arrival and milk and cookies at bedtime. The doorman knows guests’ names, high-fives kids as they come in and goes the extra mile to get guests what they need.
Not too long ago, a friend of mine had her car serviced by Toyota. She needed her headlight changed which unexpectedly ended up being a rather pricey repair due to the labor involved to replace it. Her service handler found additional items that needed repaired and did them for her at no charge, had her car washed and vacuumed and gave what she described as “extra attention to every detail.” Despite the unexpected hefty price tag, she was much more focused on the great service she had—going so far to say that it was the best service experience she’d ever had at a car dealer.
The little things that Omni and Toyota do set them apart from competitors and encourage people to talk about them—which creates referrals.
Dan Kennedy suggests you adapt the idea of doing “little things” in your own business. These little things can make a big difference in your word-of-mouth advertising and referral campaign—and ultimately in your bottom line. Here are some tips for getting the most out of this idea:
- Make it a priority. As Dan Kennedy said in his article, “The Quickest Way To Double Your Business Or Professional Practice (Without Spending A Dollar)”, you and your staff must make this a priority or it won’t happen.
- Become a serious student of word-of-mouth advertising. Look for the “little things” other businesses do that make you want to talk about them and note when people tell you about positive experiences they’ve had. Is it something you can adapt to your business?
- Define your customers’ expectations and set up a plan to exceed those expectations.Create a list of what your customer expects, then continually amend and add to that list as your understanding of your customers grow.
- Rate your business or professional practice on your workplace environment. Dan Kennedy suggests you rate your environment on the five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.
Are there things you could do to improve any of these that would create a better environment that might get people talking about you?
For example, an eye doctor created a “kid zone” separate from his regular waiting room complete with kid movies, a video game, kid books and games. A dental practice offers earphones to their patients so they can listen to music and block out the sound of the drill while the dentist is working on their teeth. A hairdresser offers an assortment of drinks including wine, specialty coffees and teas, and always has a plate of cookies out for their clients.
- Continually look for new ways to exceed customer expectations. Create a suggestion box and ask employees for ideas. Try new ideas to see if they elicit a reaction from your customers and get them talking about you. Always look for ways to adapt ideas you observe other businesses doing.
- Implement the “little things idea” program. Ask each employee to do one “little thing” that goes above and beyond your customers’ expectations in order to exceed them.
- Ask your customers. Use surveys, questionnaires, conversation, etc. to ask your customers about what they need, want, like and don’t like. Make improvements based on the feedback you receive.
- Measure the success of your word-of-mouth advertising. Keep track of the total number of referrals you get and the percentage of your customers who give you referrals.
Walt Disney said, “Do what you do so well that people can’t resist telling others about you.” When you look for ways to make your customer service stand out—chances are you’ll instantly increase your word-of-mouth advertising and referrals. What “little things” do you do in your business or professional practice? What ideas can you “borrow” from other businesses?
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