I went shopping yesterday – at a store which had a fantastic exchange offer. After getting to the store, we “sold” our old stuff, and got some exchange coupons. Only after we went into the store and met an acquaintance, did we realize that we have to buy four times worth of exchange coupons for the offer to be valid.

To make matters worse, the billing folks were not trained to handle the discounts properly, and the software itself would only accept rounded exchange values which meant that our bill had to be exactly four times the value of the coupon!

What should have been a delightful experience was spoilt by lack of transparency, poor training (the billing person took 45 minutes and the manager had to close it) and thoughtless process implementation.

Would I go back there? Possibly – but this store will never again be my first stop.

To attract customers continues to be a top management priority – and one that is becoming increasingly challenging with the explosion of delivery channels, lack of information asymmetry and empowered consumers.

At the same time, you cannot afford to put in extra-ordinary and unsustainable effort for a short while to attract a client, and then not sustain the same energy for the rest of the relationship. That is what I call the “Peacock Approach” – and, in this day and age of “Caveat Vendor”, it can prove disastrous very quickly.

The client has to love you when you are your ordinary, normal self – “just the way you are!” Only then does a true relationship develop.

So, how do you make what is “normal” and “ordinary” for you, extraordinary and very special for the customer? Four things come to my mind that could have avoided the bad experience that the store dished out, and these could be used by you as well:

  1. Focus on the entire transaction – every business deal has a proposal, buy decision, the service/product itself, billing and after sales service. Whenever you add a service or an offering, make sure that you have all these aspects nailed; and then have some dummy customers experience it to provide you with feedback. Sometimes, actual customers may also be willing to take part in the test – ever heard of Beta Tests?
  2. Don’t expect your people to make decisions if you have not empowered them and trained them. Sometimes, it is difficult to provide them with a map – but you can give them a compass. Culture and loyalty are built by trusting employees to make the right decisions in the absence of precedence or procedure.
  3. Make sure that the customer knows what she is getting, and when. Go beyond mandatory disclosures – and “talk” to the customer. Have you ever felt comfortable when you see the words “Conditions Apply”? They why do it?
  4. If you are burning the midnight oil while performing the service, some aspects of the service/product design are defective. Go back to the drawing board, and look at removing obstacles rather than pushing the team.

Note : This article was originally published on LinkedIn

Ramesh Dorairaj

Ramesh Dorairaj is consultant, coach and an author. He has 27+ Years of Experience consulting for Fortune 500 companies worldwide. He has groomed 50+ leaders. Has participated in 2.5 Billion $ worth of successful deals.  He is a Certified Executive Coach at Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching, Certified Sales Coach and a Certified Proposal Coach.

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