You would probably agree with me that one of the pillars of any successful company lies in repeat customers (repeat business). It is an art indeed. If it was a science or formula, anybody could just follow a manual.
It blows my mind how many companies still play catch up on absolutely everything, racing with their head facing sideways (to ensure they have a good view of their competitors) but never straight, looking into their present, their customers and their near future.
I’m a Groupon customer and bought a few good deals already. The main reason why I like Groupon would be first, convenience (they are an effective middle man), but mainly because through their deals I get to do stuff that I would never do if I had to come up with the idea totally separately. Price comes last in the list.
Now that I got my customer view out of the way, I must say that unfortunately, many companies offering deals through Groupon barely think about customers. If Groupon doesn’t work with their partners, educating them on how to deal with hundreds of bookings and more importantly on how to you provide a good experience, the business will suffer very soon.
The truth is that many companies barely make money since they are in the quantity game, offering their products/services with a 70% off, so not too much room for a margin there, right? Here’s how everything goes to hell:
- Many companies that succeeded in making a deal irresistible and got loads of people buying it, make it terribly difficult for customers to book a spot for the experience
- They are not prepared at all to handle such volume
- They clearly don’t have a plan to deal with customer overflow
- They treat you like cattle: “this way please, you have only one hour, here’s the exit…Next!“
- They don’t even engage with you onsite (VERY important) (no questions from the staff, no interaction whatsoever, no live feedback) I wouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t happen because 80% of the staff that day is not even official! (just hired for the event)
This is not a post about Groupon. The problems mentioned above apply to thousands of companies going through the same problems right now.
How could this be easily fixed to truly multiply your business?
First of all, when you have a strategic approach that aims at a very low price in order to hit a high amount of potential customers, what’s going to make all the difference is that you treat those hundreds of people as if they where already loyal customers. Give them your best, delight them, enchant them. You don’t get 500, 1000 people through that door everyday. Yes, you’re not making that much money either because everybody is coming with a huge discount… but that’s not the point.
If you ONLY focus on winning the heart of those hundreds of new people that decided to try your product or service, chances are that they’ll stick with you and the magic that started this post, “repeat customers/business” will naturally follow.
As you may imagine, you can only make the time to care about your customers if you plan it:
- Know your limitations: It’s tempting to take 4 times the amount of bookings that you can handle. Set an expectation! Don’t play with people.
- Train your staff: They must share your passion for customer satisfaction and understand that without it, nobody has a job. Period. If you need to hire temps, you would need to take more time to ensure everybody executes well.
- Talk to people onsite: ask them how they like your product/service, look for stories, ask them if they came with friends, if they spread the word, if they were already into your service. Finally, smile (genuinely) and ask them to come back! They’ll always remember.
- Ask them to share their experience through their own social networks: Brands and companies are missing out on a HUGE opportunity. They should be eager to provide the best service and then ask them to share the love. Don’t be shy. They will do it for you! I promise (Ask them honestly, don’t push them or spam them later).
- Excel: These sort of experiences should be a great exercise for you and your staff. If customer service is in your company’s DNA, you’ll be ahead of the game. Execution and people’s perception mean everything.
- Thank people publicly: Those that spoke about you, thank them openly through the same social network (not privately). Make them a connection and start a proper relationship. Again, please don’t spam them after that. Self promotion should be under 10% of all your posts in the different social media streams. Remember: you’ll never win the race for attention.
What other ideas can you share? Please, leave a comment below.