Surprisingly, I still come across business owners who think their point of differentiation is ‘great customer service’. Like I’ve said before, great customer service is an expectation, not a differentiation. How many of your competitors would say they provide lousy customer service?
While saying you great customer service isn’t a differentiator, there is an area of service that business owners need to focus on. And it’s based on some surprising research that’s come out of the Harvard Business Review. Their research indicates that customer loyalty has a lot more to do with how well companies deliver against their basic, every-day promises as opposed to how dazzling they might be able to make the rest of the experience. It’s really plain and simple—when it comes to service, companies create loyal customers, first and foremost, by helping them solve their initial problem quickly and easily.
Case in point, shortly after our baby was born, we met with a photographer and purchased a 3 session package to capture memories during his first year. We’ve had two of the sessions already and one of the reasons we went with this photographer is because of her creativity and artistic nature. During each session, she’s had some innovative suggestions for poses and props. And when we meet to do the photo preview, she shows us a touching video that includes footage from the photo shoot and many of the shots taken and each time it has brought tears to my eyes. The downfall, however, is in actually delivering the photos. As we all know, babies grow so fast during the first year, that they change a tremendous amount in 4 weeks. When it takes 4 weeks or more to get the photos, and our son already looks different, the excitement of sending these photos to friends and family wears off.
While the latest buzz has been about creating a completely dazzling experience, what are you doing to ensure you deliver on your most basic promises?