For years now, every 4th of July, we pack the kids in the family car and head off to the firework show at the local park. And while it is always entertaining, this past year we started whispering half way through that maybe we would not come back next year. Been there, done that. Seen one, seen ‘em all. Then, all of a sudden, it started. The mother of all finales. Explosions of color and sound all over the sky. It lasted for more than 15 minutes. Incredible! Definitely worth going back for.
How many of your customers feel the same about your service? Even if it’s good, is it enough? Is there a wow factor, something unexpected that is worth coming back for? Remember the three possible outcomes of a customer interaction with your company.
Expectations not met. We know what happens then.
Expectations met. Do you really want only a 50/50 chance of retaining customers?
Expectations exceeded. Now we’re talking.
Now, one carload of kids, even mine, would not dramatically alter the economics of a community fireworks show. Sure, a few less glow-sticks and buckets of popcorn and lemonade and hotdogs would be sold, but the vendors would not go out of business. But multiply the not coming back effect slightly and it just may. Try losing 3 or 5 or 10% of your business because you provide only average value rather then something special and see what happens.
In this day and age of choice and global competition, deliver the basics and consumers are likely to judge you unfavorably. Deliver the basics along with what is expected and you might get a middle of the road rating. Only when you start to exceed expectations do customers begin to think about coming back on a regular basis.
Once you’ve been to Disney World it’s sometimes hard to get excited about the local amusement park. Once you’ve seen the Grand Canyon the nearby scenic spots sometimes don’t measure up. When you’ve flown 1st class a few times, coach can seem like 2nd class. Because it is.
Your marketing communication strategies create a customer service expectation. Don’t let your competitors create a better perception in your prospective customers’ minds than you do. And don’t let your customers get more from your competition than they can get from you. Attention spans are short. Loyalty is fleeting. Give them your best effort, the grand finale, all the time. If you want to keep your customers, find something you can Wow ‘em with. Now.
Photo courtesy of Liz Noffsinger