When I was the general sales manager for a Rolls-Royce dealership, there was a lot of ways to elevate the customer experience that translate to all facets of business.
On one occasion, for example, a client was having a birthday party for his wife. He was sure of the model and color he wanted to buy, but then he hesitated. I asked him about the details of the party, and he immediately became enthusiastic. He said he wanted the car delivered in a box.
I asked him, “So if I build a beautiful box for the car and deliver it to your driveway on her birthday, you’ll pay for it?” He shouted, “Yes!” It wasn’t just about selling the car — it was about elevating the customer experience and asking “what else?”
Today’s executive deals with a number of issues when trying to stand out in the marketplace, regardless of industry. Having a great name, strategic pricing and years of experience doesn’t set your product or service apart. When an executive asks why customers do business with them and then do business around that ideology, the customer becomes the center of the business — that’s customer centricity.
Focus on the customer
The ability to meet the customer’s expectation and constantly deliver an elevated experience is a cornerstone for creating word-of-mouth and a business distinct from others.
A customer must have an emotional connection and executives should always monitor how emotionally engaged clients are with their business. In today’s marketplace, you can choose between several brands that do the same thing. On some level your purchase decision is made on something you are subconsciously aware of.
Find a unique value promise
Shaping a unique value promise is defining the mission of your business. This is where you as an executive need to start asking “why?” These are the ones that help executives solve problems in their business. Breaking out doesn’t mean you are ahead; it means you are a trendsetter. Your competitors are left in the dust.
Here are questions to answer:
- Why are your clients doing business with you now?
- What is it about your competitor’s relationship to their customers that you have not figured out yet?
Consider these examples of successful promises. Each focuses on the customer:
- La-Z-Boy: “Live Life Comfortably”
- Old Dominion Freight: “Helping You Keep Your Promises”
- Target: “Expect More, Pay Less”
- FedEx: “When You Absolutely, Positively Need It There Overnight”
Unique selling promotions aren’t so unique anymore
Corporations that use sales promotions to drive business get lost in what they are doing and why they are doing them. When an executive focuses business practice only on sales he or she becomes surpassed by competition.
J. C. Penney Co. is a prime example of a company with a sales-driven business structure. It has been fumbling to catch up to competitors Kohl’s and Macy’s Inc. with its aggressive pricing strategies to try to stay afloat. Penney’s has constantly jiggered prices and offered discounts but it hasn’t worked.
Focusing on the consumer isn’t a trend. It is about being responsive to the way business is done today.
Markets change and so do the demands of the consumer. As an executive, you must constantly revisit “why” to make sure you are doing all you can for your clients. ●
C. Richard Weylman, chairman of the Weylman Consulting Group and CEO of the Weylman Center for Excellence in Practice Management, is a Fortune 500 consultant, marketing guru, media expert and the author of the best-selling book, “The Power of Why: Breaking Out in a Competitive Marketplace.”