VIP ADVOCACY IS EARNED BY BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS, REPUTATION AND TRUST
So how do you get your customers to consistently come back to your business and tell others about their experience?
Essentially, creating loyal VIP customers is a three-step journey:
- Deliver a VIP CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: exceed your customers’ expectations.
- Encourage CUSTOMER LOYALTY: nurture your customer to increase visitation and spend.
- Develop CUSTOMER ADVOCACY: transform your guests into advocates for your business.
Recently I drove to Melbourne from Sydney stopping over night at four towns, no branded motel names, but they were all 4 Star whether they be a motel, resort park or serviced apartment. All booked online but unknown to me, so like many other customers we booked them by the photos, once the location and availability was established. So what made the difference between each of them was what two of them did differently that set them apart, providing a WOW moment and making us advocates of their business, posting online our experience.
The first was Kings Park Retreat at Ulladulla, arriving after the office closed they had called us during the afternoon to advise where we would find the key and a map. The envelope with the map and key were in the box where they said with a lovely personal handwritten welcome on the front. The map was highlighted so the cabin was easy to find and when we entered the cabin the heater was on, which on a cold winters night was greatly appreciated.
The second was at Sandringham Luxury Apartment booked through Stayz, a detailed email and text messages on the day from the property manager explaining how to locate the apartment, as well as key location destinations and the heater was on making that first moment a lasting memory.
Both these places were clean and were true to their word on what they said in their advertising and the photos hadn’t been photo-shopped or taken at night time to create that amazing look! They created the “Service” benchmark and our expectations were high so when the other two motels that we stayed at (one a leading chain) fell short to the point where we felt it necessary to speak to management.
In business we all have competitors, even if you were the first with a product or service, it’s not long until it is copied, so you need to always been thinking what you can do better or tweak. For customers to become advocates it is more than just the product – even if they are buying online. It is the interaction with you or your team members that creates the experience, gets them engaged and leaves a lasting memorable impression that will have the customer talking about your business, referring others and returning to you.
However, if you are offering the WOW moments to your customers or are creating a “Service plan” where you will commence implementing the VIP service level, undertake a “Service Audit” first, don’t just do things because your competitor is, ask questions.
Ask your team for ideas and suggestions on what they have experienced as a customer.
- Have your team note down the questions asked by customers, then look at them, is a pattern emerging?
- Ask your customers and I don’t mean giving them a comment card, actually talk to them.
By engaging your customers not only will you learn what they like about your business but what they have seen or experienced in other businesses both locally, nationally and overseas.
Not every business can afford to engage a consultant that conducts Surveys and Focus Groups, but we have found that businesses who we have been helping over the past two decades through well facilitated programs that their bottom line has grown because of the connection they have developed with their customers by putting in place the VIP Service strategy supported by our recently released book The VIP Principle.
So before you turn to the next article, stop and write down the 4 steps you are going to take to create VIP Customer Advocacy in your business. We have given you the first two.
- Service Audit
- Focus Groups / Surveys – customers and team members
For further information on how we can assist you with your VIP Advocacy or would like a copy of our book contact me via michellepascoe.com.