Why the Customer Matters - or does it?

In today’s world it is imperative that we continuously recalibrate. Susan Spaulding, principal of Recalibrate Strategies and Q-FI Solutions guest blogger, provides practical ways to embed recalibrating into your culture and uncover new possibilities.

Befuddled and Dismayed?

How can a retailer today afford to turn a positive customer experience into a dismal one? They can't. It will catch up with them.

When thinking about a positive customer experience here are a few basics:

  1. Practice the golden rule - treat the customer as you wish to be treated
  2. Actively listen and keep the end in mind — resolving needs, wants and interests in a way that is fair to both parties
  3. Be honest - if there are delays or there has been a change in a situation, keep your customer informed.
  4. Actions speak louder than words - it can be simple things like a greeting, a thank you or returning a phone call or e-mail

The good and the bad –

The last four years I spent many a night in the Hartford CT area and I will forever remember the sharp contrast between Hilton properties.

Initially, my firm was located near the airport so I stayed many nights at The Hilton Garden Inn in Windsor CT. Each time I arrived, a warm greeting was extended. When I was tired after a long day I would enter the dining area and the server without even asking would bring me a glass of chardonnay in greeting. And, in the morning, a glass of iced tea was waiting for me. When our offices moved, I stayed there less frequently and even when months went by, when I walked through the doors, the team greeted me by name and knew exactly how to make me feel right at home.

The sharp contrast was the Homewood Suites near where we moved our offices. I was there with great frequency and every single time I arrived the receptionist greeted me with is this your first time with us (and, frequently, it was the very same front desk person). After a while, I no longer made reservations there. I found yet another Hilton property not too far away that was far more appreciative of my business.

An even sharper contrast is a recent experience with House of Denmark. As I was furnishing my home office, we chose to shop at the House of Denmark. We made quite an investment! One item was not available and was placed on special order. After many, many calls and visits to check on the status, I have given up. Most calls were not returned. When calls were returned delivery dates were promised and never kept and of course, without communications.

In trying to find someone who was empowered to give me a straight answer, it has been a very difficult trail to uncover a person with authority. Finally, I walked in and asked for the return of my deposit and their reply was they would have to wait for their manager. So, I said I would wait. And, they said, the manager would not be back until the next day. And, so I said would wait. Lo and behold, they were able to refund my deposit. So, I have moved from an advocate since we thoroughly liked our initial retail sales person (who subsequently quit) and we like the furnishings to a befuddled and dismayed customer who is now using the experience as an example of both a good and a very poor customer experience.

Retaining and growing a customer can take so little and mean so much. When we all are striving for increased revenues and a great share of wallet, it makes sense to practice the basics. Understand customer expectations and then work to exceed those expectations. Engage every single person in your organization in delivering on the promises made.

Please share your thoughts and story with us; we would love to hear from you info@qfisolutions.com

Recalibrate Strategies, led by founder Susan Spaulding, is ready to partner with you to offer a full complement of tools, insights and ideas to help your organization recalibrate and accelerate your growth. Recalibrate Strategies help companies grow their business. We apply proven marketing systems to recalibrate their business and their brands by collaboratively creating a success blueprint. We facilitate a process that harnesses insights, generates new ideas and provides a strategic roadmap. Our founder and lead consultant has 30+ years of experience as a CEO, entrepreneur and marketing expert with exceptional leadership and facilitation skills.

Susan Spaulding, Recalibrate Strategies
Telephone: 1-816-560-5416
email: susan@recalibratestrategies.com