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Thread: Is it necessary to "delight" your customers?

  1. #11
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Jim, what you're describing is "service recovery" - and I'm sure you know more about it than I do. It's how things are dealt with after something has gone wrong which matters. I can give you two personal examples of different "service recovery".

    1. DHL lost my passport in the UK (it turned out it had got mixed up with another customer's time-sensitive tax return, and he was going frantic too). We tried phoning numerous times but always got the message that no one would be able to do anything about it until Monday, when the staff who dealt with these matters got into work. The problem was revealed on a Friday afternoon so you can imagine how frantic I was that weekend. But DHL was admamant that they could do nothing until the Monday. Gee, they're supposed to be an international courier service and they don't work weekends? Even when Monday came around, they didn't seem to realise the urgency of the matter - not only had they lost my passport but also the time-sensitive documents accompanying it - as well as the other man's tax documents.

    I was furious with them but couldn't seem to get their attention. So... I went onto another business forum where I'm a member. Not only do they automatically Tweet posts from certain of their forums, the owner also has a following of 20k+ (and I'm friendly with him). So the fact that DHL had lost my passport and was doing nothing to solve the problem got Tweeted and re-Tweeted all over the place. Now that got DHL's attention. They were straight onto it. Even so, they contacted that forum owner (not me!) and asked him to private message them on Twitter so they could look into the problem... Aaargh!

    That all happened about a year ago and I still never miss an opportunity (like now) to tell the world about the appalling 'service' we got from DHL.

    2. We ordered books from Foyles book shop which were to be sent to a friend's address for our collection in Thailand. The parcel arrived at its destination safely enough, but there was a mix up about the contents. Dave emailed them. They were onto the situation straight away and when we'd all ascertained what had happened, they immediately offered a refund. Thus we came out of the deal better than if nothing had gone wrong. I still praise Foyles for their excellent service and often recommend them to people.

    How you deal with things we something goes wrong is crucial IMO. Sometimes we make mistakes - I guess everyone does from time to time - I am willing to put a lot of effort into solving the problem and making things right again. However, I see that as quite a different matter from dealing with tyre-kickers, I'm happy to lose their custom.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

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  2. #12
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    Hello,

    Lots of things here. The 80 - 20 rule, yes I know it well and yes it is true for so many businesses and yes I experienced it to the extent that I used to get called into some customers at the start of the financial year to tell them what there budget should be to spend with me that year! Crazy but true. But this reflects the value of the relationship above all else.
    Go and check your accounts and generally most businesses either suffer from or enjoy 'it'. But not one of your customers arrived at you with a label on saying 'I'm in the 20% of top spenders with your business' - they may have just made a one off telephone call looking for help, advice, an obscure part and after receiving a great service thought enough to commit heavily to you.

    I'll give you an example, my friend owns a business that manufactures and sells specialist components for the racing car market, we had a call about a year ago from one of the Formula 1 teams who were mad for a particular part. There warehouse man had mis allocated there stock and they desperately needed it to go onto a car being driven by one of the two well know British drivers. They got looked after just like any other customer, got there parts next day. He now supplies parts regularly and that business will not go away unless we (not them) do something wrong. This sort of customer interaction happens all the time, you have got to embrace any enquiry, show how well you can perform in what is a low risk environment. You just don't get high value enquiries from people who don't know or have not tried you out, you have to start off with a low risk order, project or task. That's how the value of the relationship is established. To just deal with the top 20% on the expectation they will naturally give you 80% of your profit (and free up 80% of your day) and will remain for ever is flawed.

    Would you really dismiss a customer who took up more time or was more demanding than another on the thought that they could never be important to you? That is a dangerous route to go. The present 80% of customers are there to be developed into future top 20%.

    But, lets just accept that 80% of my customer list was now unwanted. You'd have to be crazy not to recognise an ongoing value and profit from them. If they really were wasting your time, get a premium rate number installed.

    I hope this may help

    Ian

  3. #13
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Ah, but you've interpreted what I said according to your own preferred theories.

    Would you really dismiss a customer who took up more time or was more demanding than another on the thought that they could never be important to you?
    Customer acquisition is entirely different. We've had many customers who were somewhat needy at the beginning and subsequently grew into becoming great customers. There were people who would make me tear my hair out at the start but I persevered and with a bit of guidance and nurturing, they joined the 'group' of people who we'd bend over backwards to keep. So, no, I wouldn't dismiss a customer who took a bit of extra work in the early days. It's quite usual for the new ones to require more time and it gives us an opportunity to show them what we can do for them. No problem with that at all.

    However, if after some time - say a year - the customer is still kicking tyres and moaning about everything, then that's when I start to ask myself whether it's a valid use of my time to have to constantly placate moaning Minnie who wants everything to be changed to suit them. At a guess, 95% of people are happy with what's on offer, and 5% aren't. Eventually my attitude becomes, "If you don't like it here, then why not try XYZ .com instead?". It's not unknown for me to recommend a competitor in some cases. Let them deal with the twit!

    But, lets just accept that 80% of my customer list was now unwanted. You'd have to be crazy not to recognise an ongoing value and profit from them.
    I agree, it would be crazy to ignore them completely. However, it's worth looking at the different segments of your audience and targeting your offers and efforts for the customers who are most valuable. If you accept that you can't please all of the people all of the time, then I'd still say it's a more effective strategy to keep trying to please the best customers, even if that means losing some of those who just create problems.

    If they really were wasting your time, get a premium rate number installed.
    That's a really great idea. LOL. It wouldn't work for me personally because I only do business online.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

    The joy of Internet delivery - the cartoon illustrating this will make you laugh!



  4. #14
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    We all have different kinds of businesses, doing different kinds of things with different kinds of customer expectations. We are trying to lump them all into one category. Of course, you're not going to make a square peg fit into a round hole. There are huge differences between online businesses and offline brick and mortar retail. I have both. Totally different strategies are needed for each. I do use 80/20 strategies in each, though. But to say the customers expectations are the same for a high end restaurant and online book seller who only sells eBooks is taking the matters to an extreme. You can not compare the two anymore than you can compare cars to cantaloupes. So do I lose a few customers? Yes, I do. Do I really care? No, I don't. Like Kay, in some situations I WANT to get rid of the customer. There isn't enough money and good will in the world to make up for the lost time and aggravation. Time, also has a cost and for me, a very big value. Unlike money and customers, I can't recovery it. No amount of good will replace it. No glowing review will give it back. Like I said in my original post, I got into online marketing so that I could have time to do things I WANTED to do. Dealing with unrealistic customer expectations takes time away from that goal.

    Does that mean that any customer who has a grievance is automatically blown off and discounted? No, it does not. It means that after trying to placate a customer who is making unrealistic and unreasonable demands to begin with, you hand them their money back and tell them to go spend with your competitor because his customer service is much better than yours.
    Are they cheated? It doesn't appear to me they are.
    Did I deal with them honestly and ethically? I think I have. I did not gain anything and they lost nothing.
    Did I bend over, let them steal precious time, and kiss their ass at high noon in Times square to massage their sensitive egos? No, I did not.
    Do I suggest that everyone in the world, in all businesses and all locations, in all corners of the globe, take up my banner and march on the capital? No, I do not.

    At the end of the day, as businesspeople, if something doesn't fit, we're supposed to be smart enough to be able to figure that out. Not blindly follow advice on a forum board.

  5. #15
    New Member Mentor JimWaller is a Premium Member
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    I mentioned the service recovery situation,because it was an instance wherein I was delighted with the outcome. Service recovery situations are the easiest to cite, because bad service gets noticed more than good service does. In the food service industry, we have a saying that good service is "invisible" meaning you don't have to devote any thought to it. Your needs are anticipated and immediately provided for you. It makes for a seamless experience.

    How does that apply to the 80-20 rule? Initially, I believe you should treat each potential customer as if they will be part of your 20% that provide 80% of your income. If they prove otherwise, sure, get rid of them if you can. But try to do it in a way that they might still be willing to refer friends and family who might actually become part of your 20%. That seems to be the philosophy of some insurance providers who provide their competition's quotes which may be better than their own in some cases. The customer walks away with a feeling of "It wasn't right for me, but it might be right for you." The more people you have working for you rather than against you, the better. In that respect,it is imperative to "delight" your customers.

    There is a reason for the saying "under-promise and over-deliver", but at the same time, don't 'give away the farm'.
    Help bring Janice home My mother-in-law was hospitalized while on vacation (holiday) We're trying to bring her home.

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    dsieg58 (15 October 2013)

  7. #16
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    In an offline situation, I would agree. More than likely, encounters are face to face, you'll have trained staff available, and your profit margin will/should justify it. Then the 80/20 tactics of online marketing wouldn't apply, In an online situation, you might not/probably won't have any staff available, you wear the hats, and do the jobs of 15 different people, you have 50 hours of work a HAVE TO work 20 hour every day. You do it 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your customers are removed from you and with that anonymity they are able to remove the mask of civility. Some are outright hostile, rude and completely unreasonable. Their expectation of is that you're Amazon.com, you should reply within minutes, and anything which they find fault with, should be given to them free. Your profit margins might, or might not, cover the extra time expense involved with dealing with unreasonable people, or dishonest people simply looking to screw you.

    As I said, currently I run both online and offline businesses. The tactics I use in one are not transferable to the other. While I do make more of an effort to "delight my customer" in the offline business, it also has a line. There is also a huge difference between providing a quality experience, which most people appreciate, and allowing yourself to be used and taken advantage of because the "Customer is always right" mentality of a few.

    Quality experience? Yes. Taken advantage of? No. I would rather those customers go somewhere else.

  8. #17
    New Member Mentor JimWaller is a Premium Member
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    I don't think we're at odds, I'm just saying to be civil when "firing" a bad customer. Don't let them get to you, don't sink to their level. Maintain your professionalism.

    A good tip is to have some sort of statement that you "reserve the right to refuse service" in your TOS, so it doesn't come as a surprise when you "fire" them. Additionally, if the situation warrants, update your FAQ to help avoid the situation in the future thus hopefully saving you time.

    When you're a one person show, you automate as much as possible to save your time. That should extend into handling the undesirable percentage. Have your boilerplate responses so you don't have to devote so much of your time and thought into getting rid of the undesirables. It will also help avoid saying something in the heat of the moment that can damage your reputation as a business.
    Help bring Janice home My mother-in-law was hospitalized while on vacation (holiday) We're trying to bring her home.

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  10. #18
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    Wink

    I don't think we're at odds, I'm just saying to be civil when "firing" a bad customer. Don't let them get to you, don't sink to their level. Maintain your professionalism.
    Well, yes, of course, that's a given. But being polite and professional at all times doesn't alter my thinking or my game plan in the slightest.

    A good tip is to have some sort of statement that you "reserve the right to refuse service" in your TOS, so it doesn't come as a surprise when you "fire" them.
    That's also a given. Not only that, I've gone a step further. There is a huge sign just above the reception desk which outlines our guarantee and exactly what they can expect. We offer services (for free) no one else offers, and go way above and beyond, what other sevice providers are doing in our area. We also charge extra for it as well. But they are getting quality service. everything is known up front, nothing is hidden. There are no secret agendas. They know EXACTLY what they are getting for their money before they spend it.

    Have your boilerplate responses so you don't have to devote so much of your time and thought into getting rid of the undesirables.
    Got lots of those, too.

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    JimWaller (16 October 2013)

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    It depends on how you delight them, if you delight them to a point of something similar to harrasment already, then you might want to think otherwise then. lol

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