“Business is TOO good!”
That’s what a small business owner recently told me. He runs a home remodeling and repair company. The business owner shared that his company is making more money and charging higher prices. Although the business owner feels the pain of labor and supply shortages, business is good.
Too often in business, we face a myriad of competitors offering to do it quicker, cheaper, or better. You operate in a very competitive market. It’s a constant battle, fighting for every project. So as you experience this time of record sales and peak demand, enjoy it, because this, too, shall pass.
As we experience record inflation, rising interest rates, and stock market volatility, be aware that tough times are on the horizon. Use these times of peak demand to prepare for your next valley. Use this time to invest in your end-to-end customer experience. The best selling tool is a great customer experience. Delighted customers come back and bring their friends.
The timing couldn’t be better to enhance your experience. The benchmark for great service has never been lower. Have you noticed the decline in service levels? Businesses are short-staffed and employees seem short-tempered. Lead times are longer. Try scheduling an appointment to fix your car or repair your home. The window is no longer days, it’s several weeks. Now is the time to position yourself as the market leader by delivering a world-class experience.
HERE ARE SOME IDEAS TO IMPROVE YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Look for opportunities to do more. In my keynote presentations and training seminars, I share the story of a remarkable valet experience while staying at a hotel in Indianapolis. This valet experience was so incredible that I actually asked the valet how he could deliver such a world-class experience. The valet told me that he would ask himself, “What else can I do for the customer?” The valet further explained that this question always leaves him wanting
to do more.
What a great question: “What else can I do for the customer?”
Thoroughly review your end-to-end experience. Have you ever experienced your solution the way customers experience it? Imagine experiencing every element of your solution with the motivation to improve and get better. By experiencing your solution, you’ll identify details and opportunities to improve that you may have missed otherwise.
Conduct a tinkering exercise with your customers. Tinkering means looking for additional ways to create value for your customers. It means challenging the status quo and your assumptions related to serving your customers’ needs. You can involve the customer in the process by asking your customers the following questions:
- What would you change, enhance, or improve about our current solution?
- How can we make it easier to do business with our company?
- What do you dislike doing that we can do for you?
- What would you like to see from suppliers that is not currently available?
- What is missing from our current solution?
These questions reveal insights to improve your customer experience. Imagine the compounding effects of asking your customers these questions.
One way to improve your customer experience is to offer additional products and services. Additional products and services generate loyalty and more profit. Now is the time to more-profitably grow your business. Consider the effort and cost of adding a new customer. Now, compare that effort and expense to growing your business with existing customers.
Build stronger relationships with key customers. Our research shows that customers rank relationships with their salesperson as more important than price. Look for ways to enhance and improve your customer relationship. Many salespeople use entertainment, loyalty programs, and company events to develop relationships. Another way to build relationships is to perform acts of consideration. Simply stated, do something nice and
thoughtful for the customer. One seller recently shared an example with me in a training seminar. The seller mentioned to his customer that he was traveling to St. Louis. The customer mentioned these wonderful oatmeal cookies you can only find in St. Louis. Well, the seller found the cookies and sent a few boxes to his customer. Simple acts send
a strong message.
If business is “too good,” use this as an opportunity to extend your wave of success. Look for opportunities to improve your customer experience. Invest your time, energy, and money into creating a better experience. Remember, this, too, shall pass. And if we are headed toward a mild downturn, that, too, will pass. Whether it’s good times or tough times, steadily commit to improving your customer experience.
Paul Reilly is a speaker, sales trainer, author of Selling Through Tough Times (McGraw-Hill, 2021), coauthor of Value-Added Selling, fourth edition (McGraw-Hill, 2018), and host of The Q and A Sales Podcast. For additional information on Paul’s keynote presentations and seminars, call 636.778.0175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit tomreillytraining.com and signup for their free newsletter.