While shops and restaurants may have adequate customer service, only a handful of businesses attend to the “Customer Experience” (how the customer feels every step of their interaction). I frequently see missed opportunities to make money due to this oversight. You can significantly boost your income by giving concentrated attention to the Customer Experience. It is my mission to empower businesses to create a reputation of superlative customer service by educating business owners and staff about perfecting their Customer Experience!
I have noticed a tendency for businesses to be “regulars-centric”. For example, customers who know the system at a restaurant may be happy repeat customers. However, first time visitors can have a confusing or dissatisfactory experience. Some friends and I went to a local restaurant for the first time, walked in, picked a table, and sat down. We waited. And waited. We felt confused and neglected. Some other customers walked straight up to the counter and ordered.
Oh! Now we felt stupid. But we had heard great things about this restaurant so went to the counter to order. The staff was exceptionally friendly. We felt welcomed and positive. The food was delicious. We felt satisfied. Now our empty plates drew our attention. We looked around for a bus tub. Again we felt confused. We left our plates on the table. We felt a little guilty not knowing if we had done the right thing. This is an example of good “customer service” but a neglected “Customer Experience”.
Notice that this restaurant has become associated with the following feelings: confused X2, stupid, welcomed, positive, satisfied, guilty. Now imagine Buffy and Biff who have come over from a neighboring town for the day. They find a table and wait. And wait. How do they feel? Do they stay? I am guessing they would leave after feeling confused and neglected.
What do you imagine Buffy and Biff say about this restaurant to their friends back home? What if the person behind the counter had said with a smile, “Hello! Come on up to the counter when you’re ready to order.”?
It is not the customers who complain you need to worry about. It is the silent ones who leave who are the most dangerous to your business. Word-of-mouth is essential to the survival of any business. And it can either help you or hurt you!
Here is some quick advice on enhancing your Customer Experience:
1.Get a customer’s eye view: As a general rule, I have found the Ajax Café’s (Port Hadlock, WA) Customer Experience to be stellar. Owner, Kristan McCary told me that her staff is mindful of the different needs that customers come in with, “Some will want the quiet corner in back, others come for the performance on stage, still others need to cut loose and wear a few of our novelty hats over drinks.” The staff assesses each group that comes in to ensure that they are seated appropriately and that they are indulged as much as they want… or given some space if each other’s company is all the couple seems to need. Sometimes three’s a crowd!
2. Be a guide: I have the pleasure of working with Port Townsend Chiropractic (in Uptown on Lawrence Street across from the Library). Doctors Calah Tenney and Lyndsay Mishko are solidifying their Customer Experience protocol to give clients a sense of specialness, safety, and relaxation from start to finish. This means being a guide to each new client that comes through the door. They want their clients to feel nurtured. Clients are greeted by name, shown how the tea water works, and given guidance around how their individual insurance benefits support their chiropractic options to reduce unwanted surprises. It feels nice to relax into competent caring hands once in a while, doesn’t it?
I invite you to take a newcomer’s view of your business and create a protocol that is mindful to your customers’ emotional experiences from start to finish. Be a guide so your clients feel like the special people they truly are. Become a leader in creating a reputation of stellar Customer Experience in your area and embrace the abundance you so deserve!
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