Since I took over at thebestof Eastbourne in February 2011 I have committed a great deal of time and effort learning new skills to better support my business members. I see it as my role to continuously learn "how to" so when my members need me the solution is on hand rather than them having to research potential solutions and taking them away from what is really important in their business.
The danger of this is when you learn something, unlearning or ignoring it is very difficult and that is what has lead me to write this article. The following two things have dramatically changed the way I think about branding and service thanks to Jez Rose (The Behaviour Expert) and Jonathan Winchester (Shopper Anonymous)
Jez Rose pointed me in the right direction!
Firstly, when Jez Rose presented to thebestof at our national conference a few years ago something changed in me. Thanks to Jez I started thinking more about being in the customers’ shoes rather than trying to tell them what shoes to wear. He also pointed out some of the "hidden" symbols or images in brand logo's one that has really stuck in my head and I apologise now if in the coming months or years you find the same thing happening to you. Jez pointed out the arrow in the logo (main image of this article) since then things just jump out at me, as I no longer take them on just face value.
Apart from pointing these out, Jez talked about the difference between "good service" and "excellent service" and that the difference was not difficult to achieve. Making one or two minor changes to the way we interact with our customers, suppliers and other contacts, can have a significant effect on the way they think, feel and interact with us.
I truly value exceptional service and make it known when a business has gone the extra mile, many think that repeat custom is thanks enough. But when you see the face of a team member light up when you are telling their boss they did a great job, not to mention the pride that business owner feels at that moment- these are "priceless" moments in business that fuel our ongoing efforts.
Receiving praise is addictive and the desire to deliver excellent service to receive praise greatly increases when it is recognised by both the customer and the business. Why not make a point of telling a business they have done well or better yet leave them a review! Every one of my reviews makes me feel great as being the business owner myself I don't have a boss to tell me I am doing the right things and its only when customers and users of my service tell me by way of review (good or bad) that I can make changes and become a better business!
Jonathan Winchester reminded me how to WOW!
When I attended the Barclays Bank and Shopper Anonymous event "How to WOW your customers" Jonathan raised a really valid point that I rushed back to the office and changed that very day. My voicemail! One of the LEAST favourite tasks in the world must be recording a voicemail message. You have so much information to get across while trying to be clear you might have forgotten to sound pleased they called even if it is out of hours! Worse still if your contacts are calling your mobile phone does it have the generic "Welcome to the xyz answering service" I know when I call a business and hear this generic message I see it for what it is - a MISSED opportunity.
Every aspect of your business that is on show to customers should be examined and considered. While the areas NOT in public view should be consistent with the image your company wants to portray. Imagine you have been developing a business relationship worth a significant amount of money to you and the time comes when they need to contact you. They dial your number eager to do business as the time is right! The get "Welcome to the xyz answering service" their heart sinks, they turn to the next potential supplier in the line as the moment has passed. What if they had heard YOUR voice saying, ‘Thank you for calling, I am sorry I cannot take your call but do leave your name and number and I will get back to you today!’ This is a clear message and if you have injected enthusiasm into your voice all might not be lost.
The bottom line is service is everything in business and if you don't look after your customers someone else will! If this has got you thinking about how you could be doing things differently and would like to talk about your business marketing strategy why not request a FREE Business Marketing MOT with me? There is no obligation and there is a good chance you will learn something that will be a measurable benefit to your business.
Member since: 10th July 2012
Owner of thebestof Eastbourne, I help local businesses and organisations raise their profile in Eastbourne and then help maintain their visibility via our website and social media.
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