‘The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference’
– George Bernard Shaw
I have just finished the 3rd edition of my first book: ‘Great or Poor’. It outlines 4 common sense principles that are at the heart of every long-term successful business, but that very few small business owners know, and no one is teaching!
Here’s a brief outline of what ‘Great or poor’ is about.
What’s the REAL issue with ’customer service’: well I think it can be summed up as follows:
- Every Organisation wants its customers to recommend them to their friends, and return for future and additional purchases
- Everyone gets out of bed in the morning wanting to make a ’success’ of the day (in whatever way they define this)
- Every (well almost every) customer wants to have a good experience.
So everyone wants what you’re trying to deliver and, logically, great service should happen as a matter of routine: Yet, somehow, things just don’t seem to happen this way!
This is called ’The Execution Gap’, and everyone wants to bridge it. Yet every business is different, and every customer (both internal and external) has different needs.
In the old days, this wasn’t an instantly critical issue: customers had limited choice and cracks could be papered over … Now, through the power of the Internet, an upset customer can severely damage your business overnight.
On top of this, because supply outstrips demand, innovation and technology have combined to give customers amazing experiences as standard, and competition springs up overnight, often from a part of the world with much lower fixed costs, ’customer satisfaction’ is now close to worthless … it’s ’customer loyalty’ that is the key business advantage for the 21st century: ‘satisfied’ customers are not good enough, in their opinion you are either ‘great’ or ‘poor’ and there’s not much in between.
To be successful, you have two choices:
The Internet has now empowered your customers like never before: customers are more and more demanding … everyone wants more for less! Most people would never book a hotel today without checking on a hotel feedback website first. Ebay could not function without customer feedback. This same thinking is now beginning to apply to all business and personal transactions.
Indeed, the whole way that customers look for suppliers has changed: instead of relying on adverts or the yellow pages to find suppliers, instead customers can search the whole world at a click of a button for their REAL needs:
- Instead of searching for a ’plumber’, customers will want a ’reliable and good value plumber’
- Instead of looking for somewhere to eat, they’ll look for somewhere that other customers love
- And instead of looking for a B2B supplier, they’ll ask their network online for trusted personal recommendations to make their life easier
It’s all about reputation and customer opinion.
This is really good news for independent businesses.
You can’t compete with bigger and better funded businesses on price, deals and marketing … but you CAN ALWAYS be better than them on customer reputation and loyalty … and there’s nothing they can do about this to take it away from you!
If your customers think you are ‘great’, your business will grow through repeat sales, cross sales, referrals, increased order sizes, and your costs will fall as you have less problems to sort out, more innovation and less need for large sales and marketing budgets.
There is of course a downside.
If your customers think you are ‘poor’, then your business will shrink and die as your competition continues to improve, as the only way to drive sales will be through expensive sales and marketing campaigns, combined with high costs of doing business.
Not only this, but when you’re ‘OK’ then customers will be ’indifferent’ to you. They won’t ruin you, but they won’t promote you … and over time they’ll drift away, leaving you with no option but to spend large sums on marketing to fill their place.
When you’ve lost a customer it’s very, very, hard to get them back, and, as previously mentioned, all of this has now become CRITICALLY important to business survival, as the power of word of mouth, social media and reviews online grows and grows.
The only way to long term success is to delight your customers by delivering C&CI CX each time, every time, at all levels, and no matter who is in charge.
The only way to do this is through systems that make the right things happen: first time every time!
As Ray Kroc, the founder of the McDonalds franchise model famously said:
If you want extraordinary results from ordinary people, you need extraordinary systems.
‘Slow Selling’ and ‘Great or Poor’ are those systems.
Slow Selling is a UK based not for profit organisation for leaders and managers in independent businesses.
Our systems deliver peace of mind and confidence to caring leaders and managers who have limited time and resources, and want to grow their business … all without sacrificing principles or profits.
To find out more, please click here