Service Excellence:  Is it relevant to your business?

Service Excellence: Is it relevant to your business?

So, what exactly is a ‘customer experience’? Many people and indeed many business owners don’t understand the difference between customer service and a customer experience. Your business may well offer a good product or service, however, what sets you apart from your competition? What makes the buyer decide to come to you rather than to your opposition? What makes a customer loyal to your business?

The marketplace today wants to be treated with respect, to feel valued, to be re-assured they have made the right decision to spend their money with your business, and not with your competition. What can you do to assist them in confirming they have made the right choice? How can you create an experience that will endear them to you? If you don’t, if they’re not feeling the love, they’ll be ‘communicating’ to you with their feet and shifting their business over to your competition. And the worst part about that is you won’t even realise it until it’s too late that you’ve lost a customer.

Here’s a perfect example of what happened to me recently:

CASE STUDY:

Category: Small Business
Two business owners – day spa
No competition within 50K radius

PROBLEM:

Operating for 2 years but still struggling
Limited marketing budget due to slow turnover
Not achieving financial forecast; struggling to bring in new customers, little return business.

I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with some girlfriends for an afternoon of indulgence at a day spa. However, my enthusiasm soon waned when we all stood at the door waiting to be greeted. This was the first and way too early sign that all was not ok, and my experience was going to be an interesting one. The salon owner walked toward us from the opposite end of the large salon, not once lifting her head to make eye contact, as though in deep thought, not greeting us until she was directly in front of us. No smile, just a wave of her hand ushering us to her couch in the waiting area. Handing us each a clipboard with an information sheet attached for completion, she told us she would be back shortly. I had a bad feeling. Already I had identified numerous issues, one of them being the lack of customer service ethos in the business. Now, I know a day spa conjures up images of pampering, heavenly massages, heady scents, and being relaxed to within an inch of your life. But I wasn’t feeling the love here, at all.

The actual treatments of facial, body massage and pedicure were quite good. We felt rejuvenated and relaxed after our treatments. However, due to the poor overall experience I received, it made me wonder how many other businesses just provide a service, and not an experience. By the time my treatment was completed, I had mentally listed one and a half pages of dot points of immediate improvements they could make to their customer experience with little financial outlay. Most of these improvements would have been low or no cost to the business, yet the returns can be phenomenal. A good customer experience can build a loyal database, which in turn builds your bottom line sales, which is crucial for survival.
The most obvious issues I identified immediately as we were dismissively ushered to their couch:

  • An attitude of indifference / not valuing me as a potentially repeat customer (and might I add the number one reason people don’t return)
  • Placed no value on my decision to spend my time and money with their business
  • No interest in relationship building (hence even less reason to return)

Here is a very favourite saying of mine which rings true for every business in existence:

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work; he is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business; he is a part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi

Service excellence is the cornerstone of any business, no matter what industry, size, product or service you are offering. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business. With a world of services and products literally at our fingertips, no business can afford to take their attention away from the level of service provided to their customers. Customers these days have almost too much choice when it comes to products and services. We are competing with businesses on a global scale. What can you do today that will create brand loyalty with your customer base?

THE SOLUTION:

There are many aspects to service excellence – workplace culture or ethos, staff empowerment, continuous training and development, obtaining feedback from customers, the ability to communicate (face to face, but with the ever increasing ability to communicate on-line, we need to be aware of different dynamics), processes and procedures (systems), branding, touch points, attitudes, to name a few. However, the number one aspect to service excellence is: relationship building with your customers. Oh, how we all love to feel valued! One way to do this is to get to the very core of what makes people tick. Make them feel valued, that they’ve made the right choice by doing business with you. Think about your own experiences as a customer where you have chosen to use the services of a particular business and they have rewarded you with a feeling valued and looking forward to doing business with them again.

Have some fun with your staff members, or if you are a solo-prenuer, call a brainstorming meeting with your business associates, and come up with your own set of core non-negotiable principles, by which to run your business. Your customers will love you for it, and your bottom line sales will never have looked better!

Oh, and the day spa? The last time I contacted them to see if I could assist with turning their business around, I found their phone number had been disconnected, and sadly were out of business.

Image courtesy of Marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About Liz O'Dwyer

Liz sees a distinct difference between business owners who live consciously and the impact it has on their business, to the business owner who goes through the motions of the day to day running of business, with no level of personal consciousness. All business owners need to have integrity and alignment between their business and personal goals in order for the business to truly thrive AND to be able to provide service excellence. Service with Soul can help you achieve just that.

Leave a Comment

*

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.