Let’s say you get a discount coupon for an oil change at a nearby auto shop. While you and your car may enjoy the visit, you both may never return to the business. It’s more likely that you’ll end up going to the next place that gives you a discount.
But what if during your visit, a mechanic noticed that a door was squeaking and put some oil on it. Later the mechanic tells you that he noticed the problem and fixed it for you, free of charge.
Would this make an impression on you and possibly make you a repeat customer? Would you feel that the garage “had your back” instead of a being a place where customers are nickeled and dimmed for every problem?
As a leader, you may feel that it’s easier to just give away discounts to build customer loyalty. But then you’re in competition with everyone else who discounts services.
Consider the world of luxury resorts. At a certain point, a comfy bed is a comfy bed and a great view is a great view. So how does one property separate itself from the rest when they’re all priced at about the same amount? At some resorts, employees are given a budget to spend on things that will enhance the guest experience.
This doesn’t have to be a big production. A guest might be overheard saying that he likes chocolate chip cookies. An employee who hears this has the freedom and the responsibility to pick up some of the cookies and leave them in the guest’s room. It’s a little gesture but it exceeds expectation, which is great for business.
Carrying out this kind of strategy requires a buy-in from staff and you have to make them feel empowered to look for ways to exceed expectations. It’s a shift in management that can separate you from the competition.
So, what does your business do to exceed customer expectations? Remember, a coupon may get you customers but an extraordinary experience will keep them.