Scott McKain believes that there are three types of customers. At the base level, there are those who are transaction oriented. These are individuals who are completely price oriented. Give them the lowest price and you will win their business. McKain claims in The Ultimate Customer Experience that most businesses overestimate the number of people who are concerned exclusively with price. He makes an important distinction when defining price-oriented purchasers. Price is always a factor but only with a small percentage of the buying public is price the only factor.
The second customer type is the one who is kind of loyal. These customers do not distinguish you from your competitors. McKain believes that sort of loyal customer is disappearing for three distinct reasons. One is that there are lots of good options. Second, many showroom customers and prospects are misinformed or under-informed of the distinctive competencies one showroom may have over its competitors. Therefore they see no definable difference and tend to commoditize showrooms that cannot set themselves apart. The third reason is a number of showrooms have not adapted effectively to technological changes and shifts in consumer behavior.
The third type of customer is a raving fan. These are customers whose loyalty has been secured by delivering ultimate customer experiences. Raving fans not only would not consider another option for their next remodel or new construction project, but also recommend you to others.
How do you create raving fans by delivering an ultimate customer experience? McKain states there are five steps necessary to achieve those goals:
In order to make a first great impression, you need to recognize that everything matters, be focused on customer needs and use your superior knowledge and expertise to make emotional connections.
Everything matters requires taking a holistic view of your entire operation. What messages and signals do you send when someone first logs onto the web site, drives into your parking lot or walks into your showroom? Everything matters is just that. Everything does matter from the appearance of your entrance sign to welcome they receive when they call on the phone or arrive in person. When someone enters your showroom, are they being prepared for a positive customer experience or do they approach signs that say something to the effect, staff parking only?
McKain believes you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes in order to make a positive first impression. What do your clients want, desire, need and expect? It’s not about you. It’s about what your customers want.
The final element in making a positive first impression is to “be your best self,” McKain writes. It is about treating customers the way you want to be treated when you are a customer.
Don’t Make It Right…Get It Right requires mastering the basics. If the food at a restaurant is great, but the service stinks, are you likely to go back? If you have the nicest, newest showroom in the region, it won’t matter if you can’t deliver products in a timely fashion. In order to get it right, you need to be flawless in the blocking and tackling of what you do every day. You need to deliver service that makes the processing of a transaction seamless and you must be able to connect emotionally with customers and prospects. Emotional connections occur when your clients believe that you put their self-interest ahead of your own. McKain challenges showrooms to ask two questions, “How can I improve my product or service that I sell, so our clients receive more than they expect? How can I deliver the product or service that we sell, so the transaction does not appear to be so processed?
The third component is serving with empathy. McKain claims that empathy is the act of identifying with the feelings of another person. In today’s customer-centric environment, more homeowners and builders want empathy than they want customer service. Consider the client who has signed a contract to have their kitchen remodeled and no on shows up on the first day of demolition. They have emptied everything from cabinets and drawers, yet nothing happens. The questions McKain asks are “What can you do more that sets you apart and, other than compensation, why do you work?
McKain believes making emotional connections with customers requires you to align, engage and commit. Alignment results when you determine why residents lease at your business. Relationships are established when you identify common areas of interest, values and desires with customers that pull you together. You become engaged with customers when you make the effort to create and sustain interactions.
Personal responsibility requires being accountable for your actions.
When you make great first impressions, get it right, serve with empathy, connect with emotion and take personal responsibility, your showroom can deliver ultimate customer experiences that create raving fans.