Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to Serve, Wow, and Thrive in Business

It's not enough to offer superior quality, fast delivery, and a great price. Those are but three parts of the success formula.

The fourth is service.

Your service must "wow" clients if you want the repeat and referral sales that lead to lasting success in business.

How to do it? Take a page from Disney.

Specifically, you can wow your clients by exceeding their expectations on the little things.

And it starts with your answers to obvious questions you hear every day.

Here's an insight from Jeff Kober, president of Performance Journeys and CEO of World Class Benchmarking

Think about it. You're a Disney theme park cast member picking up trash and a guest comes along and asks, "What time is the 3:00 parade?"

What does it mean? More important, what is your reply?

For one thing, consider that the parade begins on one end of the park in Frontierland, and then moves to Liberty Square, up in front of the castle, and on down Main Street. It actually takes the better part of an hour for the parade to completely go through. The question on its own has merit.

But the appropriate answer lies in understanding the guest. This is a chance to provide a one-on-one experience for the guest. What we really want to do is to think why the guest is asking the question in that manner. Then we want to respond appropriately.

Perhaps the guest wants to go on more rides and wants to make the parade as late as possible. Maybe the guest is looking for a place to sit down, or a place in the shade during the parade. Perhaps the guest is looking for a place where it isn't so crowded that their kids might be able to see.

You have to take time and inquire. You might ask: "Well, where are you planning to be at that time?"

They might reply, "Well we were going to head over to Goofy's Barnstormer." Your response might be, "Well perhaps you might want to take the train before 3:00 p.m. and stake out a place near Town's Square. There will probably still be some good places to see the parade without having to wait too long."

That's so much better than simply stating "3:00 o'clock."

But of course, this article isn't just about Disney. It's about your business as well. So ask yourself: What is your 3:00 parade question? What is the obvious kind of question your customers ask, and what does it mean?

So ... what's the most obvious question you hear each week?

Example obvious question: "What services do you provide?"

Example obvious answer: "We're a lawn service company -- we cut your grass once a week."

But ... what if you tried to understand the person first, like the Disney employee above, before you replied?

Perhaps the questioner had a bad experience with a lawn service and now wants a better one ... or they've never used a lawn service before ... or they need someone to cut the grass for their mother, who was just diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Each of your prospects has different reasons for asking, "What services do you provide?" and one answer won't appeal to them all.

So, like the Disney employee, take the time to learn. Start by replying: "What did you need help with, exactly?"

Let your prospects tell you what they need. Their obvious questions will narrow down into specific desires, which you can fill with specific answers -- answers that none of your competitors probably took the trouble to provide.

That's one way to really serve your clients, "wow" them, and ensure the kind of repeat and referral business that Disney enjoys.

(Thanks to Dr. Casey Moore for first sharing this topic with me.)

More ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.

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