It is a sad state of affairs, but consumers are getting used to mediocre or poor service so when they see excellence, it really stands out. Businesses today have so many opportunities to differentiate themselves in their market by simply focusing on improving how they are delivering their product to their customers.
If you think about the instances of exceptional service, it was usually the small things that made a difference.
- The cashier walked around the counter and handed me my bag.
- In a hotel, every person says good morning or good afternoon.
- The front desk called to make sure everything was set up as I requested.
- The waiter heard us discussing wanting to try an appetizer and got us one for free.
- The check in person knew our names and how many times we visited.
All of these little touches that make the experience seem exceptional and you may be asking yourself what little things your business does – or can do – to be exceptional?
In my opinion, too many companies focus their sole differentiation factor on being the “lowest price.” We have all heard that the race to the bottom kills business and I agree. There is always someone who will take a short term hit to win market share, but this is not sustainable business model because companies need a loyal customer base to fill that service lane and impact profits.
My simple rule of thumb is this: Give customers a better level of service than you would expect in the same circumstance. It is a great place to start. And keep smiling. It makes the job more enjoyable and their customers will keep coming back.
Include all of the things that you encounter in your travels that made you smile or go “that was nice.” If it impressed you it will impress your customers. Focus on companies outside of your industry for ideas. If you just focus within your industry you will just repeat what others are doing instead of differentiating yourself.
I have used this example in many of my live workshops, but one of the best service experiences was at my local Volvo dealer. When I pulled in, there is a canopy with a table and a box of all the paperwork. One employee opened the door to greet me and walked me over to the person handling the paperwork. As I turned around, I saw one employee in my car doing mileage while another was topping off my fluids. It looked like a pit crew.
They walked me inside and I was out and on my way with my loaner within 10 minutes. That was effective because they realized that my goal was to get in and out so I would not be late to work.
An excellent, well thought out experience that I have never seen duplicated. That is standing out from the marketplace.