List of Articles in this Series.....
"Going The Extra Mile And How To Create The WOW Factor When You Service The Service"
Delivering your service is one thing, but how do you create what I call 'The WOW Factor' to increase sales and profits?
Keeping your clients is one of the most important parts of running your service business.
The longer you hold on to your clients the more profitable you'll be (no prize there!), and the less money you'll have to spend to get more new clients to fill the voids left by those leaving.
Volumes of information have been written on relationship marketing and its effect on service, however, I don't specifically want to talk about service in general, but concentrate more on the 'little things' that make BIG DIFFERENCES and help you create The WOW Factor.
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I call these the 'unseen service leverages.' They are things, which are spontaneous acts of unprecedented service that make the client feel you've gone the extra mile.
Whenever one of these spontaneous acts of service occurs, I guarantee you'll keep that client indefinitely, and they'll become one of your best referral sources.
Unfortunately there's a flip side of the coin to consider.
These spontaneous acts of relationship marketing can be either immensely positive, or extremely negative. Your acts can either create the WOW Factor, or 'KILL' your relationship completely.
Let's first look at acts of service that 'KILL.' I've got a great personal example to share with you that demonstrates this perfectly
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Helen (my wife) and I eat out almost every weekend. (Luckily we've got two great baby sitters!). Every other week we try a new restaurant that people have recommended to us.
A few weeks ago we went to a restaurant called 'The Peckelton.' Helen had booked the table a week in advance.
Here's what happened
We entered the restaurant and were greeted very politely by one of the waitresses, who took our coats and asked if we'd like a drink first or if we'd prefer to go to our table. So far so good.
Expectations were being met!
We sat down at our table and the waitress brought the wine list and asked what we'd like to drink. We ordered shortly afterwards and the drinks arrived promptly. Already Helen and I were relaxing and thinking the meal was going to be of the highest quality. (Famous last words!).
Then to our amazement a man came storming over to our table (I'm not exaggerating) with his arms crossed (if you know anything about body language - this is a very aggressive / closed stance).
The first thing he said to us was this... "You've caused us a problem. You haven't booked, and quite frankly I think you're trying it on."
I must admit I was absolutely stunned, and Helen got straight out of her chair to leave. I'll spare you the rest but you get the picture. For whatever reason our booking hadn't been put in their reservations book. So what? Do I care? No!
The result could have been a WOW Factor, but instead it was a relationship marketing KILLER.
We will never patronise that restaurant with our business and we've already told dozens of our friends never to set foot in the place ever again. Plus I'm now telling you.
The cost to the Peckleton Restaurant for this one stupid act of 'customer service' could and will cost them thousands of pounds.
If you're wondering who the person was who came strutting over to our table - he was the owner and manager of the restaurant! It beggars belief!
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Here's how to create the opposite feeling and create the relationship marketing WOW Factor...
One of my clients is a franchise company called O'Briens. They run a coffee/sandwich bar and also have a very successful outside catering service.
This story comes from the owner of one of the franchises. It concerns their retail outlet which serves sandwiches and coffee. One sunny afternoon about a month ago, Rosemary (the owner) was doing her usual chit chat with the customers, when one of them asked her if she served Guinness.
Obviously it was a tongue in cheek request, and the customer joked that Rosemary could hardly call the store an 'Irish Sandwich Bar' if she didn't serve Guinness.
At this point I guess most people would just leave it at that. But Rosemary asked the customer if he really would like a pint of Guinness. He said "yes."
Rosemary told him to wait for a moment and she'd see what she could do. Within a couple of minutes she came back to the table with the customers pint of Guinness.
Of course she charged him for it - but he was astonished. He couldn't believe that Rosemary had gone the extra mile. She had created The WOW Factor!
I guarantee he has since told all his friends about this and will always return when he needs a sandwich or a coffee. As you can see these 'hidden' spontaneous actions don't take any real time or effort. They are amazing opportunities.
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The good news is you can 'falsely' (but ethically) create these opportunities which seem spontaneous to the client.
Here's a good example...
Let's say you've just been on an appointment. Five or ten minutes away is another client. Why not pop in unannounced and stop for a quick chat. You'll be surprised how much extra business you can get from this 'spontaneous' act.
The client really appreciates you coming to see him/her, and you may just get some more business out of them. You must however make it clear that you won't be charging them for your visit.
It's just you were in the area and thought you'd stop to see how things are going. I guarantee if you make a habit of stopping at one or two of your clients on the way back from a meeting, your average order value and frequency of purchase will soar. Better still - the client gets the WOW Factor from YOU, and will find it harder to leave, when or if a problem occurs.
This is what I call 'World Class WOW Factor Service.' And your profits will reflect your actions!
© Steve Hackney, Hackney Marketing Ltd