VAC Speaks

Your Customers - Your Guests...!!! - Concluding Part

Published by Value Add Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. in Strengthening Bonds · 31/10/2014 14:08:30

Continued from Page 1.....

On our onward journey to build an organization based on fostering bonds with your customer/guest,
Creating and nurturing a strong relationship with a customer/guest is the key to the ongoing success of a business. A strong customer/guest relationship not only means that the client is likely to keep doing business with a provider over the long-term, it also means that the chances of that customer/guest recommending the company and its products to others are greatly enhanced. Let me share an experience with you in this regard, Sanjay is our friendly neighborhood barber, unassuming lively fellow striving to eke out his share of pie, he stands out from other barbers in our neighborhood for many reasons, but the prime one is his sincere interest in getting to know me and his other clients as compared to others. Sanjay’s influence comes from his ability to relate to others and build genuine relationships with people visiting his shop – including me.

What makes people like Sanjay the Barber so good with people is this simple thing: he treats people like friends. He doesn’t wait to become friends with someone. He assumes the positive, expects the best and values the other person. And guess what? Anybody he interacts with feel valued. This coming from a person who may not have had a chance to get educated properly leave alone attending an Ivy League institute. My emphasis over here is how an semi illiterate person takes his customer experience to next level by simply connecting and thus
building a strong relationship with them, all this by striving to know them a little better. And believe you me relationships are not build over a day.

Jim Rohn has rightly said,

"One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising."

Another factor which is fundamental in building a strong customer/ guest oriented organization is the importance of
managing dissatisfied customer/guest. How many times have each one of us come across a situation whereby we were compelled to lodge a complaint with the concerned organization because of unsatisfactory product or service received and how many times have we come across a dissatisfied customer/ guest in our own professions specially if we part of that department which deals directly with people. Either way what is the first thing which flashes in the mind of the person who receives/deals with such customers/guests, well your guess is as good as mine. What’s wrong with this fella? Always remember, for every complaint you hear, there are nine more that you don't.

I once while on my routine shift was handling operations encountered one such situation during peak hours and was flustered by a guest’s persistent” whining “about a product his family was served. Yes that’s how
I perceived that guest’s honest effort to bring to my notice that where we were going wrong in our endeavor to serve him. A complaint is generally perceived as a dramatic effort on part of the customer/ guest to solicit attention and end up gaining an upper hand by trying to pull you down. And that’s where things start spiraling down, because it all ends up in becoming a tug of war between your ego and your perception about the customer/ guest as a seeker of attention and a freebie at the other end culminating in doing more harm than good. It ended up on a happy note and a un bruised ego on both sides though as common sense prevailed over me and my years of experience along with the training to deal with such situations kicked in just the right time. I was ingrained with  a simple formula to deal with such situations i.e. keep your ego out of it, as it has got no room here and put yourself in your guests shoe’s in other words change your perception about a complaint from a freebie renter to a genuine seeker of help in situation nobody would like to be in. Trust me perception in a particular situation, can dramatically affect the outcome.

Well having said that, what actually won over that particular guest and perhaps others around were the simple factors put to immediate use by the entire team by
being sensitive about it and altering our approach to the whole issue. By simply changing our perception from negative to positive, my reaction was to first apologize for the inconvenience experienced by the guest and his family, and then approach it as it a genuine dereliction on our part and hence it became easy for me to look at the scenario from the guest point of view rather than from how I wanted to see it. By listening to what he had to say I was able to not only understand but was also able to reach to the crux of the matter and thus was thankful to the guest for giving me and my team a chance to make it right for not only them but all the guests present and future as well.

All this while we ensured that the
response time between the guest raising an alarm to the satisfactory resolution of the same by the entire team whom I must appreciate at this point of time was as quick as possible so as not to let the matter escalate further thus not effecting the experience of other guests around adversely.  It just takes a little sensitivity, positive approach and quick reaction in terms of time to WOW a customer/ guest and win them back from the brink of losing them and many more in turn forever in today’s competitive world to rivals.

In a crux, it may be hard to view the complaint as a gift, but that's precisely what it is and every complaint is an opportunity to put your best foot forward. If handled properly, complaints become valuable customer service tools.

This brings me another aspect of a customer/guests oriented organization. With festivities just round the corner, I have started receiving
e-mailers, SMS’s, gift cards, personalized cards/gifts etc. from various showrooms, restaurants whom we may have visited or who want us to visit them, not only wishing me and my family on the occasion but also inviting us to come and experience a heightened sense of festivities by offering loads of discounts on essentials, gifts etc. This all may look like nuisance, but in reality we all somehow look forward or expect it from everyone whom we patronize irrespective of fact whether it is our friendly neighborhood market vendor or a big company whose products we endorse.

In fact this is the market gimmick or a genuine effort on behalf of the organization/ individual depending again on how we perceive it, is put to use around such important occasions to woo their customer/ guest. These gestures keep customers/ guests engaged by seizing their attention as who would not like to be wooed by being offered something which is quite

I must mention here a unique way to keep customers/guests engaged on the shop floor by
doing something which is over extra and ordinary. One such way I have seen being used is by an organization I was associated with in recent past. There is complete though controlled chaos during the peak hours the entire team is busy making sure that we have maximum turnover with minimum discomfort especially to our guests during this particular time. Suddenly the time seems to stand still as beat of rhythmic music fills the entire floor and the entire team including managers’ break into impromptu though well-rehearsed dance steps, prompting guests to join in who oblige happily, thus everyone tends to forget for a while the very purpose why they are there, thoroughly enjoying the moment.

As suddenly as it starts it comes to end, returning everyone to the same chaos so to say, but this impromptu
act of dance breaks the mundane monotony in everybody’s life and fills it with a joy/ ecstasy called as Moment of Truth which is what remains etched in every guests mind for a long time.  Apart from this the team would turn up with a lighted candle on a piece of cake and break into a special  birthday song to the amazement and utter joy the guest/s who have their birthdays falling on that day, as and when informed by their friends or family accompanying them. Every kid would receive a balloon on arrival and guests would be entertained by turning a simple balloon into different shapes of animals, flowers’ etc. Thus keeping the young and old mesmerized alike. It would all end with a heartfelt sense of gratitude by way of personalized notes on the bill, prompting them to come back again and have a time filled with fun and joy.   

"Our secret is that we have not been competitor obsessed. We have been customer obsessed…"

                                                                                                                      Quote by

While indulging in all these activities many organizations let those customers/ guests slip by who for some reason have stopped enjoying either their services or products. It is these
lost customers/guests who deserve the immediate attention as they may be lost to rivals.  

You know these customers/guests of yours. The ones who frequented regularly and haven’t returned since. Or the ones who had a love affair with your brand — only to burn out and never come back again. The similes typically used to describe these customers sound something typical of a Halloween parade. Ghosts, Zombies, The walking dead all these metaphors relate to one core issue: Customers who used to be great seem to have vanished without a trace.

What’s an organization to do about these people? Shower them with rich incentives and exclusive offers? Or acknowledge that they’re gone forever,
lapsed customers represent a huge opportunity, but many organizations don’t have effective strategies in place to manage their at-risk shoppers. While it’s possible that your lapsed customers have simply forgotten about you, it is more likely that they have disengaged for a reason. Perhaps they lost interest in your product offering altogether. Maybe they had a negative customer service experience, or maybe they just decided to leave you for a competitor. Whatever the case, “business as usual” messaging and creative is less likely to be cut any ice with these customers. Why not try sending your emails at a different time of day, even a phone call from you offering a sneak peak of the latest collection/ newest product could help re-engage those lapsed customers/guests.

Offering Steep discounts are by no means the only — or the most cost-effective — way to re-engage lapsed customers. Non-financial extravagances can often prove as effective in sparking a dying romance with a brand. Maybe it is offering high-value lapsed customers VIP status, granting them early access to new collections, offering priority shipping etc. For customers who have already demonstrated that they have (or had) a relationship with your brand, experiential or status-related benefits can be a potent tool in win-back campaigns. Lapsed customers offer a tremendous opportunity for any organization. By reckoning out which your truly at-risk customers/guests are — and reminding them why they fell in love with you in the first place — you can rekindle the romance before it’s too late.

Remember the words of
Frederick F. Reicheld and W. Earl Sasser, Jr

"Companies can boost profits by almost 100 percent by retaining just 5 percent more of their customers."

Another tremendous way to keep your customers/guests with you is to
actively seek customer feedback. This includes seeking suggestions on new features or products that would interest the customer, as well as critiques of current products and features. Always listen carefully and respond in a manner that lets the client know you understand the suggestions or critiques that have been offered. Thank the client even if the comments are negative.

It isn’t enough to build relationships if you don’t maintain them. The only thing worse than not creating a good relationship at all is creating a connection with customers that they can’t rely on. When a service provider seems interested initially but doesn’t maintain the relationship after the sale, the customer feels manipulated. It’s almost like a bait and switch.

If you are in business of people, you know the importance of keeping the connections you create, even if the prospect didn’t buy from you. Not only is it good business to follow up and say thank you after you make the sale, it can also be good business to follow up with those who didn’t buy to say, “Thanks for considering our products and please let me know if I can ever help you in the future.”

In the words of
Lee Densmore,

“Our customer base grows by the happy customers that go out of our doors.”

This brings me to conclude this part of my journey towards building and strengthening the other most important pillar of an organization “
Your Customer - Your Guest…!”  

Never Forget...

"There is only one boss. The Customer.  And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

                                                                                                                       Sam Walton
                                                                                                             (Founder – Wal Mart)        

Your Customers - Your Guests...!!! - 1

Published by Value Add Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. in Strengthening Bonds · 11/10/2014 11:46:55

Strong Culture is the Face of the Organisation - Concluding Part

Published by Value Add Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. in Strengthening Bonds · 10/9/2014 11:03:36

Strong Culture is the Face of the Organisation - 2

Published by Value Add Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. in Strengthening Bonds · 3/9/2014 11:46:30

Strong Culture is the Face of the Organisation - 1

Published by Value Add Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. in Strengthening Bonds · 27/8/2014 12:03:29