Give Your Customers that WOW Experience
When did you last go the extra mile for a customer?
When was the last time you put yourself in your customers’ shoes?
Do you regularly seek and receive customer feedback?
Small businesses have a huge untapped advantage over larger operations. They are far better placed to deliver a nuanced level of service that exceeds their customers’ expectations. Larger businesses are bound up with process, protocol and manuals. A small business is closer to its customers and can readily put the accent on service. The idea of super-pleasing customers isn’t a new thing of course. But if you want to turn visitors into customers and customers into advocates for there are small steps you can take to grow your business more quickly.
Being Wowed By a Small Business
Here’s one example. We booked a table at newly opened restaurant close to where I live. We specifically asked for the window table. We arrived to find no record of the booking and as it was 8.00 pm on a Saturday night the place was packed. The maître d apologised but made it clear we’d have to wait at least 45 minutes for a table and asked us to take a seat in the bar area. I can tell you we were not happy, but realised we’d be unlikely to find a table elsewhere without having to wait. We ordered drinks and steeled ourselves for a long wait. When the drinks arrived we were told they were on the house. Wow! A nice touch we said. Can you tell we were beginning to warm to the place? 15 minutes later a large plate of meze was brought over by the owner-patron no less, also the head chef. There were profuse apologises but again the meze were on the house. By the time we sat down to our table we’d just about forgotten about the mix up with the booking and I have since recommended the restaurant to friends.
Can you see what happened here? We were ‘wowed’ or super-pleased by a team of people who did more than they had to, to win us over. And win us over they did. You see, the scale of a small business should mean you really care about your customers and their experience. It also follows that small businesses have more freedom to wow their customers.
Finding Your Businesses Wows
Your businesses ‘wows’ work on two levels. First it’s the ways you can differentiate your business from competitors. This can mean a free sorbet or gift wrapping or delivery. Just about anything that will position your business positively compared to your competitors. This is best achieved by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes for the entire buying process.
Then there are wow opportunities when things go wrong. It’s here that a business’s metal is most tested. Give yourself and your staff the freedom to correct mistakes by giving ‘notch’ above service. It’s these moments that create opportunities for success or failure. Be careful that employee training doesn’t inhibit initiative. Will your customers pass on negative or positive comments about your business?
Testing What You Put In Place
Mystery shop your business or ask colleagues to. Be a difficult or awkward customer. Make a complaint. Also keep on top of developments at competitors’ operations. Don’t just record what happens but deliver the necessary changes.