Pursuing customer satisfaction as a way to become a service leader, and therefore more profitable, is the wrong pursuit. Customer satisfaction is simply the price of entry into the game. It keeps the doors open and the employees paid, but it does not grow your business.
What producers really need are customers who are impressed to the point of being advocates. These excited patrons become your trusted marketing staff extolling your praises to anyone who will listen. But how do you make the leap from satisfying your customers to amazing them?
Here are three ways to turn your customers into advocates:
1. Know what customers really think of your service. Great service brands are continually on a quest to “up their game.” They do not rest on accolades from the past or make assumptions that they are delivering amazing service. They listen to their customers in a systematic way and then make the desired changes.
2. Start a customer service transformation inside your company. Simply put, you cannot give what you do not have. It is impossible to produce a sustainable, consistently excellent service brand without it living first inside your company—employee to employee. As an example, a sales person ticks off a dispatcher who then sounds irritated when speaking to the customer. There is a domino effect when there is discord inside the organization. Begin your efforts inside and the new culture will bubble over to your customers.
3. Focus on building customer relationships by spending more time with customers in non-traditional ways. Hold education events for them. Create a loyalty program and recognize their loyalty publicly. Invite them as guests to industry conferences. Begin an anniversary club and celebrate their anniversary with your company. Just get creative.
All too often, it is our thinking that blocks our progress. For producers today, thinking that customer satisfaction is their goal has blocked the creativity needed to get beyond it. Dare to do the three things I recommend, and your customers will become your most effective marketing team.
Joan Fox is a customer experience consultant to the ready-mix industry and a popular conference speaker. Telephone 513-793-9582 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.