I recently went to a restaurant to order take-out. The hostess turned out to be the owner/manager of the restaurant. The problem was, she was more concerned about the tiny details of her employees’ duties than about the needs and wants of her customers. I was so put-off by her brusque, inattentive manner that I almost left the restaurant without ordering.
Fortunately for her, one of her employees displayed more attention and tact than she could muster. Ironically, when I got the food home it was outstanding! But my customer experience was so poor that I’ll definitely think twice before going back again.
Those of you who know me, know I love Walt Disney World. And the number one reason I love it is the Disney level customer service. It’s legendary. Corporations travel to Disney all the time to learn from them. To learn how they make their customer experience so amazing.
I often hear of similar experiences to the restaurant story in the production world (the world I work in…). A good number of the shows I work on came to me after getting frustrated elsewhere. Without fail the experiences I heard were the same…
“I felt like no one cared about my show.”
“It seemed to me that I was working with interns…”
“I never got to work with the person who drew me to their service.”
“I could have gotten better customer service with Fiverr or Upwork.”
“It definitely wasn’t worth the money I was paying.”
These stories hardened my resolve to provide hands-on, boutique, concierge level service and hand-crafted quality to all of my clients, drawing on my experience as a professional recording engineer. To be able to be flexible. To be able to take care of my clients at the 11th hour. And to personally oversee and sign off on every episode that moves through Emerald City Productions.
To keep that level of service and quality, I restrict our workload to no more than 25 episodes per week.
In order to maintain this level of quality and attention for my clients, I also have a kick butt team including a project manager and only experienced full-time recording engineers as editors and mix engineers. I also own the highest level of processing and analysis software.
Inarguably, quality of both service and product form the foundation of great customer service. Like that restaurant, we can offer a stellar product, but if our service is lousy, we’ll turn people away. Likewise, we can’t just eke by on wonderful service if our product stinks. And while the restaurant example deals with a tangible product, the same holds true when our “product” is a service.
Whether you like it or not, “The customer’s perception is your reality.” In the end, it really doesn’t matter how we view our products and services if our customers perceive them differently.
But for the purposes of this episode, let’s assume that you have a great product that people want. So, let’s focus on your customers’ experience.
Here are 5 pillars on which the customer’s experience stands:
- Do what you promised—and more! Honesty must be a basic given. People do business with those they know, like and trust. If we can’t do what we said we’d do, people won’t trust us. And trying to win back broken trust is very difficult. And for some reason, dissatisfied customers are very eager to share their poor experience with others. So be careful what you promise.
However, just meeting basic expectations (what you said you’d do) doesn’t “wow” the customer. What does “wow” them is receiving unexpected service and bonuses. Under-promise and over-deliver. What are some ways that you can do this in your business?
- Establish and follow great systems. “Systems, not just smiles” retain customers. Having great systems in place enables us to provide predictable, consistent service and products. Basically, anything in your business that you want to be repeatable should have a system associated with it. Systems ensure that the same quality product and service will be delivered every time with every customer.
What great systems do you currently have in place? What aspects of your products or services are still lacking great systems? How can you remedy this?
- Personalize service. No one likes to be treated like a number or faceless person. Again, people do business with us when they know, like and trust us. The more relational we can be, the better. Systematizing your business may seem to fly in the face of personalizing service, but look for ways to ensure that the systems of your business allow you to interact with people in a relational, personalized manner.
Remembering a customer’s name and some detail from a conversation with them can go a long way toward making them feel that your service is very personal. What are some specific ways you can personalize service for your customers?
- Establish repeat, long-term customers. “It’s much easier to retain a customer or client than find a new one.” That was the mantra of Carl Sewell of Sewell Cadillac. As amazing as it sounds, he found that over the course of a customer’s lifetime, the loyal customer would spend $517,000 with Sewell Cadillac! I recommend his book, Customers for Life: How to Turn that One-Time Buyer into a Lifetime Customer. What would it take to retain your customers, making them customers for life? Why would they want to do repeat business with you?
- Make it easy to do business with you. This must be an integral part of the customer service experience. Doing business with you should be both a delight and simple. Amazon has capitalized on this principle with their “one-click” purchase option. What are some ways that you could craft your business in such a way that your customers find you very easy to do business with?
Look back over these 5 pillars of great customer experience. Which of these pillars do you excel at? Which ones need more work? What will you do to improve your customers’ experience?