Let’s compare two scenarios, shall we?
1) Man lives clean, wholesome life; no drugs or alcohol, never talked ill to his wife, attends church and works to service his community.
2) Man was on drugs, had gambling problem, abused his wife at one point. Then he decided to turn his life around. He is now attending meetings, 12-step programs. He is divorced, but is paying child support and trying to be a good father to his kids.
Which do you think will get people to really applaud? While we want to say scenario 1, or even both, we all know that people ALWAYS cheer for the “bad guy who turned good” while the guy who did well his whole life is treated like chopped liver.
We know this is true, and I could give you many scenarios to prove this. In short, my point is that those who redeem themselves generally get louder praise than those who were “perfect” in the public eye.
How does this apply to business? While people may talk well about a company that offers a good product or service, that same consumer will talk even louder about receiving bad experience but with an immediate turnaround and fix by the company. My case in example? Apple. I don’t care if you love or hate Apple. They are one of the biggest companies at present time and have created a cult-like experience. Love them or hate them, their success is hard to argue. This article is written with my personal experiences, but what can be applied to business is a universal thought that I believe most will agree with. This is NOT some Apple fanboy crap, so if you hate Apple that much, then replace it with another company that you adore that goes above and beyond, the point will still be valid.
Going back to my experience with Apple, I usually get great products and service from Apple, but no one is perfect. I’ve had some products that break after a while (ok…5 years), but Apple has ALWAYS stepped up and gone BEYOND fixing the problem.
A few recent experiences:
* 5 year old iBook that kept having issues, despite many fixes. Apple fixed it FREE because I am a loyal customer who was really upset, and this laptop was cursed. When it came back DOA, they replaced it with a new Macbook. Free.
* FedEX screwed up the tracking for my iPad 2s. Apple’s solution? They yelled at FedEX and we got a call from them with an apology and a late night delivery VS next day. Apple also gave us two free covers.
* Macbook screen was dying after 4 years. Apple gave me a discount towards a new Macbook pro. When there was a slight delay in the order (1 day, no biggie) they brought it to my attention and gave me some really cool Apple swag.
The first customer service fix was a costly one for them, but not in the long run. I will continue to be an Apple customer and recommend them first above any computer manufacturer. Most importantly, it proves my point: PEOPLE LIKE GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE BUT LOVE WHEN CUSTOMER SERVICES GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND TO MAKE SOMETHING RIGHT.
How does this apply to your business? I’m not saying to screw up on purpose, but NEVER EVER take the attitude that “a client didn’t notice/say anything, so it’s not a big deal.” Maybe they noticed, maybe they didn’t. Why risk it? If you messed something up, bring it to their attention before they bring it to you. No matter who brings it up, always go above and beyond to make it right. This isn’t just to make the client happy, but consider it an advertising expense since your client will be singing your praises to everyone.
When your business “messes up,” do you ‘fess up to me and do more than just make it right? Do you fix it to the point that the client RAVES about how great you did and forgets about the mistake?
Case in point. One of our DJs messed up for a prom and didn’t set up these heart GOBOs on the side walls. Client didn’t even notice and didn’t even bring it up. I called the client that same night and apologized to her, and offered her the money back on that AND a bonus addon for next year. She said she didn’t even notice and refused the money back. Still, I sent a “credit certificate” for next year’s dance. Of course, she talked about how awesome we were before AND after the dance to other sponsors, and we had additional schools calling us because of her recommendation.
We could have kept it quiet and not lost any potential money; but what if she looks through papers later on and says “Wait.. they skimped me on my GOBOs!”
This sounds like perfect common sense, yet I keep seeing posts on DJ forums that their mistake didn’t matter since the client didn’t say anything. Remember that during a life-changing celebration, some people choose NOT to complain. It doesn’t mean they didn’t notice or will notice later on. To admit a mistake makes your business human, and a client is more likely so accept and love a human element vs “big business.” Fixing the mistake makes your business seem “huperhuman” and you know where I can go from there.
Don’t believe me? Ask people to tell you a story about good customer service and most likely they’ll tell you when customer service fixed something that was wrong. After all, that is the primary job of a customer service rep: answer questions and fix thing.
Of course, this doesn’t mean to let clients walk all over you and take advantage, but hopefully you’ve worked on your people skills enough to avoid booking clients that give off that sort of vibe.
Another case to make, taken from pages of Apple, is to make everything seem like it’s going to be a big deal for the client. A friend took an iPhone, past its warranty, to the Apple store to be fixed. The genuys saw the problem was common (major overheating). He said that because it’s past warranty they can’t fix it for free, but they can sell them a new one for $149 without having to renew a contract. My friend gladly agreed. Then he asked us to wait.
A few minutes later and he came back saying “here’s your new phone, and I managed to get it taken care of no charge. You’ve had no returns before and you were gentle on your phone. This one’s on us.”
My friend was stunned. He walked out with more Apple merch, too. Hang around there and you’ll see some truly incredible shopping experience ideas.
I’m willing to bet 100% that Apple wasn’t going to charge to begin with. I’ve seen this 2-3 times before. The Genius made my friend feel like a loyal customer who took care of their products, and that needed to be rewarded.
Walk in with a broken iPhone and you WILL have to pay, but you’ll still feel a sympathetic vibe coming from the rep. They took the customer’s problem, humanized it and made the customer feel special when they fixed it.
Think about how you can turn this around and apply it to your business, and watch things boom. I did this for 4SchoolsOnly, and I believe that emulating such is the reason why we have grown exponentially every year!
Charge a bit higher than you want, so when a client needs something small like 2-3 extra uplights, or maybe 15 mins overtime, you can give it away and make them feel special. Maybe they want a customized first dance. It may take you a few minutes to create this. You could charge for it, or charge a bit extra to begin with to pad the costs of your customer service. It looks much nicer than “nickling and diming” or “addon prices” or “whatever you want to call it.”
After all, there’s a reason why Apple charges so much for their products: Shopping Experience + Product + Customer Service = Higher, but welcomed, price tag.
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