NOBLESVILLE, Ind.(Jan. 1, 2001)—What would happen if I unleashed a few dozen mystery shoppers to critique your company´s service attitudes?
What if they make several dozen phone calls and numerous in-person visits? How would they rate your employees? Would your dealership´s service attitudes make them feel like welcome guests or necessary pests?
The answer is critical and directly determines the amount of repeat and referral business your company will enjoy. Only happy customers come back and send their friends.
Would they rate your dealership´s service attitudes as.|.|.
Charismatically compelling—in other words displaying attitudes that bring back customers again and again?
Terribly typical—having attitudes that leave you vulnerable to competition? or
Definitely dangerous—with attitudes certain to help competitors prosper at your expense?
Only by knowing if your business falls in the first category can you be certain you are getting the return on investment you deserve.
Getting above-average repeat and referral business comes from finding the critical balance between answering your customers´ human needs and their perception of the value offered by your products and services.
Since you already know about delivering your products and services with excellence, let´s look at meeting the human needs of your customers. Of everything you do, these have the greatest payoff and the least cost to deliver.
The "psychology of the first need" teaches us that every person alive has an inherent need to feel valued, respected and important. They need to feel what they do and contribute in life is meaningful.
Sadly, most businesses have "dumbed down" their customer services and "dehumanized" the process of interacting with people.
Businesses that go against these dehumanizing trends will be huge winners in the markets they serve.
They´ll do this by consistently delivering old-fashioned, person-to-person service. They will recognize, respect and honor everyone they encounter as a human being, an individual.
Now is the time to improve how your staff rates at meeting your customers´ first need.
Former Chrysler executive Lee Iacocca said all business can be reduced to three words—people, products and profit. "People come first," he said. "Unless you´ve got a good team, you can´t do much with the other two."
And I would add one more element to this famous quote: If your team doesn´t have repeat customers and lots of referral leads, you ain´t got nuthin´.
Mr. Wilson is an author, professional speaker and consultant on customer service and customer loyalty. He lives in Noblesville, Ind.