Picture this: Your auto is in need of repair, so you call your local dealership and schedule service. Upon arriving, you enter a spacious and clean bay where you don’t even need to step out into the elements and the temperature is always 65 degrees. A service advisor, always with a cheerful demeanor, greets you and invites you to come over to his station, where he takes the time to listen to your needs. Instead of just trying to upsell you on every possible service option you get an honest consultation.
You’re then ushered into a luxurious waiting area, where you have your pick of what you would like to do during your wait. You could sit in one of their comfy leather club chairs – with accompanying laptop desks – or use one of their many PC’s (with free Wi-Fi). You could park yourself in their movie-theater style seating area, where you can watch what you want on one of two giant flatscreens. If you brought kids, you could bring them to a playroom, where there are plenty of free toys, books, and activities. Or, you could treat yourself to breakfast or lunch at their cook-to-order cafe. Your service advisor checks in with you periodically, to ensure you’re comfortable and to update you on the status of your vehicle. When finished, they return your car to the same beautiful bay you drove into, so you don’t need to step outside.
Doesn’t sound like your typical experience at a dealership, right? Well that’s a real-life example of the way Boch Honda West, in Westford, Massachusetts, does business. It’s where I have my Honda Accord serviced regularly and upon my first visit I actually said “wow” out loud. I continue to look forward to my service visits because it’s always a great experience. I’m willing to pay the extra cost of dealership service for the great experience I have; and I’ve submitted positive online reviews.
The Boch Auto Group knows I can have my Honda serviced anywhere, so it focuses on setting itself apart by delivering a customer experience like no other service shop. The Auto Group knows it customers and markets itself to customers accordingly. While a small business can’t compete on this scale, there is a lesson to be learned: focus on providing a “wow” moment and you can quickly build customer loyalty and referrals.
So how exactly can a small business owner, with a budget much smaller than an auto group, pull this off? Here are some real-world examples, to hopefully inspire you.
1. Service with a smile. In a previous sales job my employer actually handed out small mirrors for each of the sales reps to hang at their desks. We were trained to smile while speaking, and I can tell you it truly worked. Customers would frequently tell us everyone at our company always seemed to be in a great mood. Projecting a positive demeanor is infectious. Try it during your next personal conversation and you’ll see what I mean. Get customers to feel that when they interact with your business, it’s always a positive, cheerful experience. It is the easiest way to provide an instant “wow” and it’ costs you nothing.
2. Giving more than expected. I recently listened to a radio advertisement for a tailor shop. The ad mentioned that while you’re getting fitted for your suit you can also get a haircut and a shave. They’ve turned the otherwise-boring experience of getting fitted for a suit into a full men’s grooming experience. What other tailor shops offer that?
3. The little things can set you apart. A hair salon in the town I live in offers all evening appointments a big glass of wine to enjoy during their visit. A local seafood restaurant’s take on party mix at their bar is colored Goldfish; I always hear patrons commenting on them and they seem to be a delighter. The jeweler I bought my wife’s engagement ring from sent us a gift, timed to arrive just after the date of my expected proposal. You can get a haircut, seafood, or piece of jewelry anywhere. But these businesses stick in the minds of my wife and I, because they do a little something special which keeps us coming back time after time. And none of those things are breaking the bank for them.
Are you “wowing” your customers? If you’re not sure, think about things from the perspective of your customers. What do they expect when they arrive at your business? Take out a piece of paper and write these down. Then think about one thing you can do that goes above and beyond those expectations. Soon you’ll be working on your own business’ wow moment.
Do you have a favorite business which provides you with a “wow” moment? Share your story, using the reply section below.
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