Are You Paying for Results or an Experience?
Last July, I wrote about a negative shopping experience I had with a local swimwear boutique. In the post I specifically pointed out the benefits of taking cues from customers. I'd like to revisit that idea here.
Not too long ago, my lovable-albeit annoying-cat was acting strangely, even for him. Like any good pet owner, I called the vet and brought my cat in for some testing. To make a long story short, he's okay, but had to stay a few nights for observation. During visiting hours, my husband and I met with two different vets. One doctor was reassuring, confident and friendly. The other doctor? Not so much. Her delivery was such a turnoff that I began to wonder: If we're paying for results, should we overlook the details of the overall experience? Call me greedy, but I want both. If I can find a vendor to accommodate my needs, why wouldn't I give them my business over the "incomplete package?" Here is where things went wrong and how it could've been a better experience for both parties.
1. Sell Confidence
Here's the thing, when someone pays for a service, he or she wants results. (Bonus points if the results are favorable!) My particular situation required me to fork over some bucks to get my beloved pet optimal care. So I would've appreciated it had the "expert" looked directly at me, instead of everywhere else, while answering my questions. I was already admittedly nervous and uneasy-I didn't need the added stress of questioning my decisions. Speaking to our industry, when a client trusts you to make things happen, are you going to have time to second-guess your decision about a supplier partner, thereby making your customer second-guess his or her decision to partner with you? Maybe you are incredibly well-versed in your trade, but how will anyone ever know if you present yourself in a non-assertive way?
2. Don't Waste a Client's Time
This is undoubtedly a no-brainer. But if that's true, then why are there so many repeat offenders? The vet gave me a late pick-up time when my cat was ready to go home. What should've been a 10-minute wait in the lobby turned into 45 minutes, which then turned into another 15 minutes in the back room. The initial wait can be chalked up to an unrelated emergency that disrupted the vet's schedule. But there weren't any updates, my husband had to keep leaving the area due to dog allergies, and there certainly wasn't an apology or a "thanks for waiting" when the vet finally brought us our cat. Let's turn it back to you. When your client has been anxiously waiting to see the final results, and the delivery day has finally arrived, be sure to do just that-deliver. If life somehow gets in the way, which it often does, make sure your apology (at the very least) is ready. How you handle the unexpected speaks volumes.
3. Be Clear with Instructions
The vet was going to show us how to administer medicine to our cat. She called in a prescription to be used at home in the coming months, but forgot to mention that we should bring said prescription to our appointment. Needless to say, I was rather annoyed to hear this-especially after my hour-long wait. I got excuses instead of an apology. "Oh, they didn't tell you to bring that here?" Obviously not. "Okay, well, hmm, I guess I can just use what we have in the back." You know, because it wasn't bad enough that my cat was gone for days, and his feeding schedule was completely thrown off thanks to the vet's schedule. Tell your customers what you require of them at the start of a project to reduce the risk of miscommunication. You're certainly not doing them any favors if you failed to provide instructions in the first place.