Archive for the ‘customer service’ tag
“Have we spent enough time focusing on your issues?”
Seth Godin is solid gold.
I got an email today from Zappos. It seems it’s been a year since I ordered my last pair of Converse All-Stars, so they sent me a note.
It was brief, to the point and a great bit of follow-up. Just a few lines describing what I’d ordered and links to the same pair, as well as a page of other, similar shoes I might be interested in.
Here’s why the note was well-executed and not creepy:
- It’s timed right. A year out, the shoes could stand to be replaced.
- It’s handy. With just a few clicks, I’ll have a new pair in a couple of days.
- Most importantly, in the year since I’d ordered the shoes, this is the only email I’ve received from the company. No newsletter, no coupons.
Follow-up calls, letters and emails — while a great way to get repeat business and strengthen client relationships — can be a minefield. They’re a balancing act between helpful and bothersome. With a little thought and effort, you can turn them into a solid source of business. And not be creepy.
Image courtesy Magnus D
How much do you pay for print ads in your local shelter magazines? Radio spots? Flyers and mailers and postcards and rented lists and door-to-door salesmen to sign up new customers?
Or, if you rely on word of mouth: How much effort do you and your team put into your work to ensure Mrs. Jones tells her book club about how much she loves her new patio?
Take a minute this morning to think of all the time and hard costs associated with a great referral program, landing new business and keeping current clients happy.
Then listen to your receptionist answer the phone.
Seth Godin describes the bad side of this process bluntly:
When a new referral shows up, all that work and expense, and then the phone rings and it gets answered by your annoyed, overworked, burned out, never very good at it anyway receptionist, it all falls apart.
Marty Grunder always asks his audiences why the (often) lowest-paid person on your staff is (usually) the first person new customers deal with.
You spend a lot of time each day with your foremen and crews and suppliers. But your customers spend most of their time interacting with your folks on the phone.
The more effort you expend pusing people to call in, the more you should work to make sure the folks answering those calls are doing it right. Otherwise you’re wasting a lot of time and money.
I won’t bore you with the gory details. Let’s just say as a youth, I spent a massive amount of money on anything KISS related. By massive I mean my allowance for the week. And this was the early 90s, (yes, I realize I was a little late to the game on the whole KISS thing) so that meant a solid $5 a week. So, when I recently read an article where bassist and co-founder Gene Simmons essentially said that most people don’t care who performs in the band’s trademark makeup now, I was a little miffed.
You see, they’ve taken the character makeup of original members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, and slapped it on two other dudes, basically duping people into thinking they are seeing the original KISS. Simmons’ point is people are there just to see the spectacle that is KISS and really don’t care who’s in the make-up. Well, sorry to burst your bubble Gene, but as a former die-hard fan, I care, and that’s why I’ve grown to dislike the band.
So what does this have to do with your landscaping business? Everything. Because you are a brand, and you need to act with integrity, and not insult your customers by taking shortcuts. Your “die-hard” customers are paying attention to everything you do. You may be doing things that you don’t think matter, but your best customers notice it. Maybe you’ve stopped taking trash cans to the back of the house, or cleaning up the hard-to-get grass clippings. The customers who just want their lawn mowed don’t really care about that. But the customer who is going to continue to invest in your company because they value your service will notice the change.
While the majority of your customers may be happy with your work like the majority of people who buy a KISS ticket don’t care who’s in the makeup, remember that your best customers are paying attention to how you’ve gotten better…or worse. Don’t have the attitude of Mr. Simmons who is shunning his true fans. Always remember that your integrity of your work will take you further than just trying to make a quick buck.
Dear Charles Bowen,On behalf of our entire staff I would like to thank you for allowing us to be your host during your recent stay in Phoenix. Our goal is to exceed your expectations at every opportunity. We genuinely hope your time with us was comfortable, efficient and enjoyable.We know you have a number of hotel options when you travel, that’s why we are constantly striving to improve our accommodations and service. We want you to think of us first the next time you are traveling to Phoenix. Whether it’s a quick business trip, a vacation or a national convention we want to be your hotel of choice.Again, we sincerely thank you for choosing the Wyndham Phoenix.Warm Regards,Steve CohnManaging Director