Think back to the last time you were really looking forward to something. Maybe it was a vacation at an amazing resort, a great dinner out, or buying a new piece of state of the art electronics. Oh, the anticipation leading up to the event!...Your life will be so much better!...Did the reality live up to your expectations? Far too often the answer is a flat out “no”. Usually because the hype was far greater than the actual product.
A few years ago I decided to finally indulge in my dream to spend a week being pampered at a luxury spa. I researched all sorts of options all over the country, booked my airfare and ground transportation, and could hardly wait to go! The spa in Utah advertised world-class service, gourmet food, spectacular views and a top-notch spa. From the moment I arrived at the resort I felt my excitement turn into deep disappointment. The reception lobby had stark white walls, rental quality furniture and employees that looked less than thrilled to be there. The spa featured fluorescent lighting, blaring rock music, and really nothing resembling “top-notch”. Without access to a computer or a vehicle, I quickly phoned a friend who gladly helped me research other nearby spas where I might escape.
In my consulting practice, delivering on your brand is one of the top areas I stress to business owners and employees, because there’s always another company around the corner who will gladly take your dissatisfied customers. For that reason, I’ve put together a few tips to help you assess your business and see where there may be opportunities to enhance your image.
Tip 1. Clearly reflect your brand. Once you have defined how you want your company to be perceived, use your brand as a filter for everything your customer encounters. In other words, if you are a spa and you’re advertising luxury and pampering, that should be the overriding theme at your establishment. Your furnishings should be lush and your staff should actually “pamper” your clients. You could certainly add additional elements such as hiking and exercise classes but they should not be the focus. Simply put, give your customers what they came for.
Tip 2. Think of your business as an “experience”. In my many years with Anheuser-Busch Theme Parks, I often encouraged my creative teams to look at every detail our guests encountered. From parking the car in the morning to leaving late in the evening there were hundreds of “experiences” that could make or break a great day. Take a look around your business and “see it” through your customer’s eyes. If you were the customer, would you appreciate the overall experience? Are you delivering on your brand or is it time to add some new and improved elements to your offerings?
Tip 3. Your employees are a reflection of your brand. Whether we’re talking about a doctor’s office, restaurant, or call center, your customers expect great service from everyone in your company. If your receptionist or other employees are rude or unknowledgeable your customers will view your overall business in that light and sales will likely suffer.
Tip 4. Develop opportunities for emotional connections. Put some time into understanding how your customers might hope to “feel” as a result of doing business with you. In other words, do you want them to feel energized, comfortable, relieved, rested, in “good hands”? You can influence your customer’s ability to “connect” to your business through the use of appropriate background music, lighting, paint colors, artwork, and your employee’s interactions with your customers. Think about how much a soundtrack can enhance a movie (whether it’s romantic or action packed). If you walked into a nightclub that didn’t feature great music and attractive lighting, would you want to stay and order drink? It’s very often the “feeling” we experience that prompts us to either move on or stay and indulge.
Most of the tips I’ve mentioned can be addressed with modest impact on your budget and high return on your investment through increased customer retention...now that’s working InBliss!
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