Selling Radio Direct with Pat Bryson –
In our last newsletter, we spoke about creating good customer service for our listeners and our advertisers. Today I want to continue with the next level in our relationships with our clients: an extraordinary customer experience.
We start with the premise that no one remembers “average” or “ordinary”. With the competition we all face today, we must stand out from the crowd….in a good way! In today’s business world, the customer is at the center of business strategy. Service, marketing, sales, all revolve around what the customer needs and wants. Online has gotten very good at not only fulfilling our needs, but anticipating our needs and sending us suggestions for things we didn’t know existed but we can no longer live without. For our bricks and mortar clients to compete, for us to compete, we need to create “Wow” experiences for our clients.
A customer experience is defined by each touch we have with our clients. It begins before the sale and extends long after the sale. It is the entire customer journey from start to finish. It is a series of events that leave an impression, one way or the other. Customer service is reactive: a customer has a problem, we fix it. The customer experience is proactive. We anticipate their needs before they do.
If you think about 5 businesses that you frequent again and again, why do you go to them? Chances are, you can narrow down the reason to one of these: they are cheap, fast, user friendly, they have great customer service, or they represent luxury. Whichever this business is known for, they must be consistent.
As we begin to think about how we can provide a great customer experience, we need to think about the touchpoints we have with our clients. Here’s a starter list. Feel free to add your own:
Needs analysis meeting
Follow up by the AE
Customer calls the station
Customer emails us.
I suggest you look at each of these steps and decide how to make that interaction special. In working with my clients, I’ve heard some interesting stories on how they improve the customer experience. The above list is the minimum. Much of the special experience happens after the sale. The account executive is in touch with the client on a predetermined schedule set with that client. How does THAT client define “exceptional service”?
Some AE’s take top clients to lunch on a regular basis. They send “thank you” gifts periodically. When a new client comes on the air, the AE writes a thank you note. So does the manager. A “new client” form is circulated to the on air and internal people with contact information on it. That way, if a listener calls in with a question about an ad, anyone in the station can direct them to the client.
One of my clients has a designation for “elite” clients. These are clients spending a certain amount monthly with them. The station arranges outings and parties for these clients. They enjoy perks that other clients do not.
Another of my AE’s sends a thank you gift once a month to one of her clients. She refers business to them. And they reciprocate by referring business to her monthly.
I read a story about a gentleman who sent a text to Morton’s Steak House: “Hey Morton’s, can you meet me in two hours with a porterhouse when I land at Newark airport?” Obviously this was meant as a joke, but guess what? When he landed, a guy in a tuxedo was standing there with his steak and all the trimmings. Morton’s travelled 23 miles to reward a regular customer and to create a legendary customer experience story.
And then there’s the story of Nordstroms who took back a set of tires that were returned by a customer. Nordstroms doesn’t sell tires, but they lived up to their image of “customer first”. The back story on this is that the Nordstroms had been built in the same place formerly occupied by a tire store. This gentleman was convinced this was where he had bought the tires. We have another legendary service story that has circulated for years.
What about your station? Do you have legendary service stories? Can you create some? My challenge to you is to assemble your cumulative brain power and brainstorm ways to upgrade your customer experience. Become the station that people talk about and tell legendary stories. It’s the way to legendary revenue also!