The bottom line is, you are the result of what your customers think, not what you think. We call this, “deliverables”. You are not what you think you do.
If you are an electrician, what you do is not the electrical work. It is the experience that the customers have, the experience that they will either recommend and talk about, or they will not recommend and talk about anyway…
It starts with a phone call – the experience that people have when they ring you: “Welcome to Bob’s electrical, you’re speaking with Bob”. If it is a message: “Welcome to Bob’s electrical. I’m sorry I’m busy at the moment and your call is very important to me – please leave a message and I will come back to you within 60 minutes”. The customer experience is the most important thing in your deliverables.
Think of it as a process. The process begins from when the customer first contacts you, through to the work that you do with them (or the activities that you are really good at), right through to when you have done the job, then through to invoicing and getting paid for the work you have done. The process then continues further, when you go back and look for customer feedback, testimonials and referrals.
The most important thing is if you can define this whole spectrum of customer experience, then you can replicate it. The more you can replicate the entire spectrum of customer experience, then the better your quality of delivery, the better your brand, and the better it is for people to recommend you. People will recommend you because they know that these 10 things (or these 5 things etc) are what happens when they deal with you.
It does not matter whether you are a retailer, a tradesperson, or doing professional services. The entire spectrum of customer service is how you will be judged. Think about the people who do the best that they can do in your industry, in what you are doing and remember that THAT is what you aim for – to be better than the best.
If you think of all the big brands and how they behave, one of the best examples of absolute delivery is when you look at a successful franchise like McDonald’s. You might not like McDonald’s burgers (we are not judging the food here!), but when you go to McDonald’s, a Big Mac in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Sydney, Perth, or New York tastes the same. That is because their deliverables go all the way through from the burger recipe, to how the staff are dressed.
So, if you are in the trade industry and someone goes up to a client’s house, are they wearing your company dress, and do they have a name tag? Are they representing your company? When someone comes into the reception area of your office, how are they greeted? Are they offered water/coffee? What is the script, the EXACT customer experience you are looking for?
Ultimately, the tighter you can make your customer experience, the more quality in your entire spectrum of customer experience, the more value in what you do, and the more you will get recommended.