Over my last two articles, I have discussed what I see as disturbing trends in…
Mastering the Art of Over-delivering
Of course, you know of Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and KFC? Add Microsoft, Google and Apple to the ‘well-recognised’ list. Back in the 1980s and ‘90s, Kodak was one of the world’s most familiar and identifiable brands. By the mid- ‘70s it accounted for 90% of film and 85% of camera sales worldwide.
How did they go from leading the market and inventing the first digital camera in 1976 – to almost gone?
Founded in 1881 by a pair of original thinkers, Kodak once dominated its industry, but it failed to embrace the ‘it’s not always about the now’ concept. Ironically in 1979 a Kodak ‘superforcaster’ wrote a forward-thinking paper detailing how the market would switch from film to digital, and at that time Kodak predicted, “it won’t catch on”.
Kodak failed to understand how the market need always changes, they didn’t add more value to their service, and most of all didn’t embrace new ideas; they ‘knew it all’.
Business owners and managers shouldn’t be all about marketing to build their customers numbers; they also need to be concerned about improving, developing and building on the ‘new’, the ‘unknown’.
How can you enhance, ‘bring it’ and ‘invent new’ service to your customers? How can you over-deliver? How can you genuinely humanise and create an unpretentious connection with them?
The up-sell is about you giving, not getting.
What can you do today to bolster your ability to amaze customers? Yes, I know mind-blowing your customers is a function of having: a strong culture; good people; sound strategies; solid processes; and ensuring you use technology. But, could it be, through connecting by applying authentic, genuine service, without the upsell always being all about you making more sales most of all?
Do you humanise, connect and genuinely over-deliver? Or do you fain authenticity to get the sale?
“Take it from me, our customers; clients and consumers become far more street savvy, the second-time round.” – Dean Hawkins
Every day I’m a customer or client to someone – the three biggest pitfalls I see in service are:
1. Customer service is an action, not a department.
I asked a small family owned women’s fitness business owner on what she thought customer service is, the reply compared to the definition was quite extraordinary:
“Good service is a philosophy that has to be embraced through a genuine connection, through authentically and sincerely caring – it’s personal. It’s a package that is built for each differing person, by knowing what motivates them, and what they need. It’s about keeping clients happy; it’s also about helping them meet their goals, but most of all its mutual `they give you as much as you give them’….”
Perfect and well said ‘win together’. She has built a business from three loyal clients a year ago to now having 60. No fanfare, awards, magazines, and articles all about this woman – just an old-fashion commitment to her clients, with a new-fashion edge … she is always learning new ways.
Business application: Be real; be true, customers will eventually see the truth.
2. Wear your trade.
Over the past 30 years, I have used the term ‘wear your trade’ many times in the Fire Department, to me it simply means, if you`re a firefighter you forfeit the right to be unfit or overweight… In this instance, it is the ego of firefighters who believe they can still do their job despite these physical handicaps.
Business application: ‘Wear your trade’ is far beyond just the physical; I believe it means, “Be, act, do … as you preach”.
3. Do your thing – do new things – not all things.
Although diversification is important – before you travel the ‘magpie syndrome’, make sure your current service is relevant and pertinent to the need. Own up to ‘what you can and can’t do`, a 360-degree look at yourself and the services you should deliver can provide you with your perfect niche or three.
No matter how capable and successful you might be, for one reason or another, there are simply some things that you won’t be able to do.
Business Application: Focus on what your thing is, learn new ways of doing it, reshape it and be better. Customers don’t expect you to be perfect at everything; they expect you to be honest, authentic and to do your best at what you do.
“I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee
Amazing customers means being above average, all of the time. All of the time is key. Also, know that you don’t know it all – ‘stay alert’ you will be astounded by who you can learn from – gurus walk amongst us, everyone has something to offer.
Be sincere, have fun, create friendships, value others and their needs as human beings not just for their need for your product. It is said that 73% of consumers say that the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service is to value their time.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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