What makes a first time visitor to your business, become a regular client? On average, every business has many competitors; so what would make people prefer your business to your competition?
We find a lot of emphasis on price, the quality of products and better service delivery. All of them very good, but each of these have their limitations. You can only knock down your prices that much before your profit comes under pressure. Better quality products comes at a cost and better service is a one sided view regarding the matter of service delivery.
You see, when we as business owners determine the level of service we will render, there is usually a cost factor involved, but more important is the fact that what the business owner sees as good service, is not necessarily what the customer experience as good service. You often hear business people say, “this is what we offer, take it or leave it.”
But have we ever considered that the customer actually makes a sacrifice to come and do business with us? We tend to think that we are offering something the customer needs and he/she should be glad that we offer what they need.
But let’s look from the customers point of view. They probably made a study of the offerings available, perhaps made some phone calls, and then got into their motor vehicle and drove to your business to buy the good(s) or service(s) they need; from me and you.
And what do they find once they enter the business premises? People sitting behind counters who won’t get up and ask whether they can be of assistance, or so busy on the phone that they can hardly greet the person standing right in front of them? Or I stop at the service station for petrol and there are three attendants busy talking to each other and neither makes a move to be of service to me. So what do I do? I just start my vehicle and drive to the next service station, where perhaps, they may be more interested in the money I am ready to spend right now. Even in our town we have no less than six service stations where I can fill up my car.
So, to come back to my question about customer loyalty and what makes me to come back? I believe it is what I experience when doing business with you. If doing business with you was a pleasant experience with less sacrifice from my side, I will most probably come back; even if you were not necessarily the cheapest.
If I buy groceries from one of the four big chain stores in our town, there are certain shops that I give preference to. Not necessarily the cheapest on everything, but the friendliness of the staff, the availability of safe parking, security guards who are not also begging for money, makes my shopping experience much better. Therefore I prefer to go there.
The competitors may also deliver good service and have the same products on their shelves, but the pleasant experience directs my steps again and again and again. What we all basically sell, are experiences, good or bad. Money is like water, it flows where there is the least resistance and less sacrifice.
(The Experience Economy Pine & Gilmore)