Lucy is planning her wedding. She is looking for a caterer: One that calls her back promptly with a quote. One that knows the meaning of customer--or potential customer--service. One that is so responsive that it's immediately obvious that it (1) cares about earning HER business and (2) will come through with flying colors on her big day. Wouldn't you think that finding such a caterer would be...a piece of cake? Apparently it's...pie in the sky!
Lucy called and emailed around for a month to get quotes. Each time, one of three things happened:
Then, nothing, no response. Businesses disappeared into black holes. A week or more went by. It shouldn't take so long for her to get a simple acknowledgment of her call. Do they have so much repeat business rolling their way that they don't need to be courteous to someone new?
What if Lucy were a mystery shopper? Or, what if she has connections who are big spenders? By being nice to any potential customer, there's the potential for more business down the line. Marketing is not just your ads--it's how you treat people, whether or not they buy from you this time around.
Lucy was astonished: "In this economy, don't they need the business? Are they so busy that they can afford to ignore me? How come it's so hard to get someone to take my money? Do I have to be rich to get attention and good service? If they're this non-responsive on the front end, I certainly can't trust them to deliver on the day. I don't get it!"
I couldn't believe this was such a problem, so I offered to help. I had two ideas: (1) get a reference from someone I trust and (2) call a caterer I'd personally seen function admirably at a recurring small event.
Lucy is still looking. Fortunately she isn't in a time crunch--yet. But, if she were, this could be a nightmare. Who has the time to keep calling and begging businesses to take their money? And it's not just caterers, is it? So many businesses, so little service!
Think about this: can you achieve greater success by raising the bar on your customer service and becoming so remarkably responsive that people just can't stop remarking about you?