By Tom Borg ©2017 All rights Reserved
Professor Daniel Carmichael created The Leaky Barrel of Marketing Theory. In it, he uses the analogy of a funnel that empties water into a rain barrel that is riddled with holes. Almost as fast as the raindrops begin to fill the barrel, the water spurts out the sides,
never filling it above the level of the holes.
For the purpose of this article, these “holes in the barrel” are represented by a sundry of mistakes that small businesses make, and the water spurting out those holes, are your hard earned clients. Here are some examples:
• Poorly designed or out of date websites
• Slow follow-up to prospect inquiries
• Service vehicles that are in disrepair or are dirty
• Surly or rude employees
• Marginal service
• Damage to the client’s property
• Questionable quality
• Inability to resolve customer concerns or complaints
These are just a fraction of the reasons why potential loyal clients, “vote with their feet and cross the street to one of your competitors”.
According to a recent survey by Accenture, 81% of consumers who switched loyalties, say the company could have done something differently to keep them as customers. And a survey by American Express reported that 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction, or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.
One of the challenges for most small business owners, managers and employees today, is they don’t really know what their customers are experiencing. As a result, all the money and effort the company spends to attract them is for naught as they lose their precious customers without ever knowing why. Let’s take a look at a strategy that can help you resolve this conundrum once and for all.
In order to identify and improve the customer experience in the market place, customer service specialists, Ron Zemke and Karl Albrecht created a tool they call the “cycle of service”.
The cycle of service is comprised of a series of “touch points”. A touch point is any time your potential customer comes into contact with your company, in such a manner that it forms an impression about your business or organization.
Here is how you can create and use this powerful tool. Sit down with your entire team and plot out on a white board all the steps a potential customer would take, in order to do business with your company.
For example the first step might be a person seeing one of your service vehicles in their neighborhood. They would notice the company logo, name and website on the vehicle. At the next step, they would visit your website. After viewing your website, they would call your office number and talk to a representative. Next they would schedule an appointment with a salesperson. Next, they would meet with your salesperson. After that, they would receive a proposal, and then make a decision whether or not to use your services or buy any of your products. Next, your company would deliver that service or product. Finally that customer would decide whether or not they were satisfied and would use you again and refer you.
Once you have identified the actual cycle of service your prospect goes through, you and your team must analyze each touch point. For example, let’s analyze just one of those touch points. Let’s use the appointment where your sales person meets with the prospect to learn more about his or her needs and wants, and discusses how your company can meet their expectations.
Here is how this touch point unfolds into these components. Your salesperson calls ahead to confirm the appointment an hour before the meeting is to take place. Next, he or she pulls up in your company vehicle, parks in the street, not the driveway, walks up to the front door and rings the door bell. The prospect sees the vehicle, and as they open the door they see the salesperson. They observe how he or she is dressed.
The prospect invites the sales person inside, a conversation ensues, and then both your prospect and your salesperson walk outside to look at what work needs to be done to the prospects’ home. Once the salesperson gathers enough information, he or she then makes a presentation. At the end of the presentation a quote is made and the prospect either accepts, delays or rejects the quote.
Going back and examining each component of this touch point, you and your team can now identify the actions your salesperson needs to take to meet the minimal standards. After this, identify how each component can be enhanced.
For example, here are just a few ways to enhance the particular component of the touch point where the sales person is at the front door. The sales person should park the company vehicle in the street, be dressed in a clean uniform that bears his name and the logo of your company, all of which can be easily seen and read. The sales person has good eye contact, a cheerful smile, a friendly hello and they call the prospect by name.
As the salesperson enters the home, he or she takes off their shoes, which shows respect for the prospects home. If a pet comes to greet him or her, they show that they like animals. As a way to start the conversation, your company representative might pay a sincere compliment to the homeowner about the exterior appearance of their home, the landscaping or the interior of the home.
Once you have a strategy developed that will enhance the particular touch point, teach it to each one of your team members who will be involved in that touch point with the client. As you are able to get everyone on board, in delivering the enhanced version of your touch point experiences, you will be on your way to creating a quality client experience.
Do you have questions about developing your leadership team or training your employees? Give me a call and let’s talk. You can reach me on my cell phone at: 734-812-0526 or email me at: email@example.com.
Tom Borg is a employee performance and customer experience expert who works with small businesses and organizations to improve customer acquisition and retention. He helps these organizations through his consulting, speaking, training and mentoring. To ask him a question or to hire Tom, please contact him at: (734) 404-5909 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at: www.tomborgconsulting.com