Debbie Mayo-Smith international inspirational motivational how-to speaker technology, time management, improving business performance
Motivational Speakers, Sales, Marketing, Time Management, Productivity, Technology, Tips

Better Experience Brings Better Profit

Like a snap of your fingers, you've seen the economic climate turn.

Here's a way that you as a businessperson and consumer can mitigate the impact.
Focus on the "customer experience".

"Customer service," I hear you thinking. No, customer experience. It transcends the simple over the counter/phone: "Can I help you?"

It's looking at all aspects of a company's interaction with its customers. From financial services institutions down to the corner cafe. It's treatment. Processes. People. Service. Communication. Problem solving.

Having a good experience breeds good word of mouth, which breeds new customers for free. And vice versa.

You can quantify the cost to a business of bad experiences. Eighty per cent of people having a bad experience will tell 13 others.

Let's translate this to dollars. A cafe might see an individual twice a month.

That person spends $10 a month; $120 a year; $1200 over 10 years.

After their sixth visit, a staff member snipes at them: they decide to kiss the long line goodbye; the coffee is still too weak even though they said something. They don't return. That's $60 lost revenue for that year, and $1080 lost for the following nine years. But wait, there's more bad news. They tell their colleagues about it. Six of the 13 don't return either. There goes $6480 more in revenue.

Put your consumer shoes on now. How willing are you to let things slide when dissatisfied and spending money? You accept poor business processes that sap your time or patience. You accept substandard service. You accept no as an answer.

At the beginning of this month, I kept trying to use Telecom wireless internet hotspots at several locations. Wouldn't work. It wasn't until the second week that a notice came in the mail telling me it's no longer free. Now we have to pay $9.95 an hour for a benefit that has been free for years.

How many people will just take this? How many will say this is the last straw and move to another provider?

Ask any of our six children what they think of me. "Major embarrassment" is their immediate retort. They don't see the benefit of having a mother whose oft repeated refrain is: "Please may I see your manager?"

But if we don't complain, how can businesses know that there is a problem or that they have to make improvements?

Now, with our business hats in place, how can we help maintain and grow profits by looking at the customer experience?

Wear their shoes. First and foremost, put yourself in your customers' shoes. What is important to them? How can you save them time? I bet the first supermarket to stop making the supervisor unlock the register every time a checkout clerk makes an error or passes alcohol through will see business pick up. Any petrol station that doesn't make you get out of the car and pay first because they don't trust you will see a surge of repeat customers. Any business that calls you back quickly will get the business.

Training. It's a fallacy to think you shouldn't train staff because of high turnover, or consider it money ill-spent. What sales are lost when staff do not have adequate training to answer questions, or do not have authority to solve problems on the spot?

Procedures. Establish processes that are beneficial to customers. Not solely you. Example: Making people wait on the line longer than necessary, or not speaking with a human. A photo imaging shop outside Melbourne tells customers: "Call us. We'll come out and get your disc or film so you don't have to park, take the pram out of the car ..." Mainfreight doesn't have receptionists answering phones or voicemail on landlines. All calls go directly to staff. Their customers love it. Yet at the newest Farmers store in the Albany Westfield mall, when I asked a staff member to direct me to their ladies room, I was directed halfway back through the mall to the food court. What was management thinking when they allowed the store to be designed without a customer bathroom?

Appreciation. What will your customers value? Often it's the simple things that we're all too busy for. A little chocolate with the bill and a handwritten "thank you for your custom". Remembering a regular's name.

Communication. When was the last time you heard from someone you've done business with? Communicating with customers is a way to add value to doing business with you, while simultaneously giving you the opportunity to bring them back for more. It can be as simple as "come in for a coffee on your birthday" or "it's time for a refill of your pet food".
Establishing processes, procedures and training staff is where you proactively add value to the experience of doing business with you. You will keep your competition in your shadow while you quantify the increase in your bottom line by keeping your customers and generating good word of mouth - the best form of advertising.

By expecting and asking for more when you're spending your hard-earned money, you improve the value of your spend for yourself and, importantly, help shape and raise the customer experience bar for all.

Debbie Mayo-Smith (BSc Hons Econ) is an International Motivational Business Speaker and Managing Director of SuccessIS! ( and a leading specialist in easy practical ways to improve business profitability, personal productivity and Internet marketing. Debbie lives in NZ and travels the world speaking, writing and training. By the way, if you'd like to get lots of neat tricks like this, plus marketing and business development tips, why not enrol for our free newsletter?

This article is copyright to Debbie Mayo-Smith & SuccessIS. You may use it for your newsletter, website or as an article. It can be reproduced - but in its entirety and with inclusion of Debbie Mayo-Smith as the author and the weblink


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