How To Keep Clients Coming Back For More- And More
My favorite hotel stuffed up a critical ‘moment of truth’ last week. So basic. So damaging. And a powerful lesson for us all. If you have clients, then read this post. Follow this one tip, and you’ll keep clients longer- much longer. Here’s how.
I’ve stayed at the hotel once a month for 14 years. Loyalty personified. Last Tuesday, having booked my normal style of room on an important visit accompanied by family, I was given the worst room in the hotel- wrong bed configuration, and a heavy smoker clearly having recently frequented it. Wrong. All wrong. I asked to change rooms. Hotel fully booked. I asked again. Minimal response. “But it was not what I booked,” I pleaded. Bad luck- it’s all we have. I rushed off to a meeting. Tried to resolve by phone. The outcome- it does not matter. Here’s the point.
This hotel failed in the most basic imperative of outstanding client service. Here it is:
It failed to deliver Zero Moments of Dissatisfaction.
Now- think upon this a moment. It is a gem. Here’s why.
The most critical Moment of Truth in a client/service provider relationship is quite simply, when something goes wrong. Either the client has stuffed up, you have stuffed up, or the client is upset about something. How you react in these circumstances creates a powerful new perception in the client’s brain- they evaluate their relationship with you almost entirely on this moment. Get it wrong- and you are cactus. Get it right- triumph!
I’ve spent a lot of time training people on client service excellence- including the need to deliver outstanding Moments of Truth for clients- where we exceed expectations at those critical moments where clients are evaluating whether we are ‘worthy.’ And the most critical moment of all is when the proverbial hits the fan- for whatever reason.
Then Kiwi Andy gave me a new insight. “Ok- moments of truth are important. But if you want to run a genuinely outstanding service business, focus all your attention on ensuring Zero Moments of Dissatisfaction.”
So- what to do for your business
Think about all those moments and triggers where your clients get irritated and frustrated with your agency. Lots of them will be from very simple things. Slow response to a phone message. Inability to get hold of you. Typos. Deadlines missed. No car parks for their visit. An invoice over budget and no prior warning. List them out. And then work hard on minimizing and eradicating them. ZERO moments of dissatisfaction.
Now- of course things will go wrong. That critical Moment of Truth will arrive. And when it does- react with speed, sensitivity, emotional intelligence, genuine intent to fix the problem, empathy and humility. Do what is needed to fix it.
Meanwhile- work every day to minimizing Moments of Dissatisfaction. Become an agency with a great track record of Zero Moments of Dissatisfaction, and business will thrive.
Oh- and that hotel. You know, after all my years of loyalty, and even after accepting a gradual lowering of standards in recent times, this was the final straw. Big moment of dissatisfaction. The lesson: give the customer the room they booked and you confirmed you would give them. They did not do this. Then they stuffed up how they reacted to the Moment of Truth- how they responded to the pissed off customer.
Not good enough. New hotel next time. Tough? No! Just business in 2014. And fair enough.
Hope you like the new look and feel of Possums. My thanks to my colleagues at Houston for doing the design – at a price I could afford. That is, zero! Great job Houston and thank you- a heartfelt thank you. I updated the design because it was time to give it a different vibe and to de-personalise it a step. Anyway- I like it. A lot. Let me know your thoughts.