Traveling for work means you get to know people you see regularly on the road (Sky Club personnel, airport security, rental car agents, hoteliers). This drives my son nuts when he travels with me. “Why do you have to talk to all these people?” he’ll ask. To which I reply, “Why not?” It’s amazing what can happen when you get to know people and they get to know you.
One of the perks of being a frequent guest at a hotel is getting to know the staff. They know which room you like, what foods you enjoy, and have “your” drink waiting when you walk into the lounge. I find it is comforting to stay at the same hotel and use the same airline or car rental agency. This loyalty also often comes with perks.
One of the challenges with service provider familiarity is complacency. As a frequent guest, our expectations can be higher. I recently called my normal haunt to reserve a room for the week. No answer. This has happened often in the past. But this time, there were simply too many attempts at redialing. In a matter of minutes, I switched my hotel of choice.
As I spoke with the reservationist from the new hotel, it was clear WHY they were getting the chance to earn my business. He quoted a rate (after asking if I was a AAA or other member) that was comparable to my current rate. I asked if that was the best he could do. He put me on hold and then proudly provided a lower rate. Honestly, I would have taken the room at the rate originally quoted. If you’ve read the book “Getting More,” you’ll understand why I took the time to ask for something better. It’s what I do.
This level of service can benefit us as sales professionals as well. In the field, on the phone, with customer service — anyone in your organization can leave a customer feeling less than appreciated. When people feel that their business is not that important, they are more likely to jump ship.
Being unresponsive or engaging in lackluster follow-through is a reality in every business, including dental. How do you ensure your customers feel appreciated? Do you respond in a timely fashion to requests, calls, texts or emails? Are you consistently raising the bar and providing experiences that reinforce this? Do you provide literature of interest to the practice, take CE, keep up with technology? In other words, are you looking after your customers’ best interests or simply your own?
When was the last time you looked your clients in the eye and thanked them? We all become complacent at times. Recognizing this and acting on it is key.
On the flip side, are there customers that you need to replace because their “ask” is out of bounds? Which customers drain you of your time and profitability? When you become so stretched that your priority accounts are feeling less than appreciated, it is time to rethink your focus.
Sometimes we think we have the absolute best, until we open our minds to something new. Your customers can easily fall into this trap. If one of your clients took the leap to see if the grass was greener, would it be? How are you differentiating what you provide from what your competition provides? Same old same old? Ask yourself, what would your clients say about WHY they choose to do business with you? Don’t take customer loyalty for granted. Keep your approach fresh and you will increase the odds of earning their business for years to come.
From MENTOR April 2016;7(4):6.