Would you rather your customers be satisfied or loyal? Don’t get me wrong, satisfaction is of utmost importance but a satisfied customer will shop anywhere! You want your customers to be LOYAL and that comes through impeccable customer service.
Yesterday I drove all the way across town to pick up my wife’s new cell phone… “The Rant” She’s been hounding me about it for weeks so I decided to buy it for her as a Christmas gift. Unfortunately they were out and it had to be special ordered so it didn’t arrive until after the holidays. When the phone arrived, my wife and I jumped in the car and drove across town to pick it up at the Sprint store. She was and still is very happy with her new “Rant” but as I was driving her car to the store I could barely see out the windows which brings me to the topic of this post.
As we were pulling out of the store I see a young man on the side of the road waving to traffic and holding a small sign advertising a car wash for $10 with a free vacum service. I said.. “what the heck” I made a u-turn and pulled into the car wash. He smiled and gave us a friendly gesture as we pulled in. This was one of those automatic car washes with the big spinning brushes. I’m not usually very fond of these places but the car really needed it so what the heck.
As we pulled into the entrance there was an attendant speaking to the driver in front of me. I was reading the signs and special offers that they had posted and the way it was set up truly impressed me and attracted my attention. As the car in front of me pulled into the car wash, the attendant walked over to my driver side window. She wore an apron and an ear to ear smile. She welcomed me and began to talk explain the different services that they offered. She handed me a towel before I had even paid, instinctively I took it and said “Whats this for?” she explained that it is a free towel for me to dry up any extra droplets of water that may be left on the car. “Hmm Ok I said.” She was so polite and friendly and she explained everything that the car was going to get done in the car wash. She even suggested the Teflon protection because she said she did it on her car and it made it “sparkle” (social proof).
I gave her my credit card and she handed me a token for the vacuum cleaner machine and a free (unadvertised) air freshner $1.00 value. Then after she ran my credit card through the machine she handed me a $3.00 coupon for my next wash PLUS a $3.00 mail in rebate! She did this all with polite and friendly conversation. I felt like I was getting so many free gifts! I hadn’t even gotten the car washed yet but I was already a satisfied customer. I told her that the only reason we chose her car wash is because we saw the young man waving by the side of the road. She smiled and explained how that is her son and he is doing the job for some extra cash. I instinctivly gave her a $2.00 tip at that point.
I put the car in neutral and let the hydraulic track pull it through the wash machine. The washing itself was no different than any other one I had ever been through but all my wife and I spoke about as we went through it was what great service we were getting. When we pulled out of the machine, we parked next to a vacum and inserted our free token. My wife noticed that the machine normally costs only 25 cents, but we were still so excited that it was free. I used my free towel to wipe down the parts of the car that the ginourmous air dryers missed and all the while I can still see that young man waving in more traffic.
As we drove back home my wife and I continued talking about the great car wash we had just gotten. Keep in mind, we did half the work ourselves but it didn’t matter to us, we weren’t even thinking about that. It was all about the great service and “percieved value” of all the “FREE” stuff and future discounts we recieved. I turned to my wife and saif that I would be driving my own car to that car wash even though its all the way across town. That service had won my LOYALTY, not just my satisfaction.
So I began to think of the precise actions that gave rise to these feelings of loyalty and how I can impliment them into my own online business. Customer service is of paramount importance. Perceived value always needs to be greater than advertised value. The customer needs to be welcomed and greeted like a friend and needs to be motivated with social proof. Ultimately we need to UNDER PROMISE and OVER DELIVER. This is a surefire way to insure not just customer satisfaction but LOYALTY as well!
To Your Success,