I got my lawn edger out the other day for the first time this year, started it up, planted the blade firmly into our dry west Texas soil and it immediately fell apart. The bolt that keeps the gears together was stripped completely of all it threads.
According to the naked eye, this was a typical ordinary bolt that should be easily replaced so with that in mind I headed to the local hardware store, old bolt in hand, ready to find its assumed easy replacement. I retrieved what looked to be the identical size bolt and headed home confident that this “one size fits all” bolt would be the answer to my problem…WRONG!
After further review (an analogy for all you NFL replay fans), I discovered this was a “unique” bolt designed specifically for my lawn edger and I further learned that the threads were left-handed, not the typical right-hand threads which meant that in order to tighten it or make it work, I had to turn it in a completely unique direction! Ah, a learning moment.
How many times do we find ourselves in similar situations when dealing with customers and clients? Trying to make it a one size, one direction process. While what we offer may be very similar in solution, how can we make it a unique experience so much to the point that our customers feel like the solution was designed with them in mind? This seems like a simple undertaking yet can be quite challenging. For example, I have one particular training session that I have presented hundreds and hundreds of times. In order for me to be effective, I must present it with as much energy and enthusiasm the 800th time as I did the first time. Why? Simple. If I show no regard or interest for my audience, they will certainly not engage my presentation and they will also be the first to tell others how poor my performance was. We can never take a day off or assume a one size fits all! Each encounter must be unique!
Here are four D’s to a unique customer experience that I follow.
Develop the engagement: Ask a developing question or statement to engage your customer. For example say “tell me more about what you are looking for” or “what is your most important concern?” Give your clients and customers the opportunity to share what matters to them personally and they will feel as if you are providing a solution custom built for them!
Discover the solution: When you do a great job of developing the engagement, discovering the right and best solution should come naturally. It makes sense that by understanding what is important can help you clearly identify the best solution from your product and services mix.
Direct the decision: It is time to educate your customer and lead them in the direction of saying “yes” to you. Here you simply point out how what you are proposing meets their unique goals and objectives and better yet, how easy it is to get this accomplished!
Deliver the promise: Finally ask for the opportunity to begin and provide the necessary steps to move forward for both you and your customer…then follow through, do what you say, keep your promise, then follow up to make sure all is well. IT DOES NOT GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS!
These simple yet effective D’s provide a strong foundation for keeping each customer and client engagement “unique”. Let’s face it, we all like to feel special and important, especially when it comes to choosing our product and service providers. My challenge to me and to you is that we never take the approach as I did with the bolt that one size fits all or that everything goes the same direction. We should never take the attitude “just another customer, here we go again”. Instead, let’s make every encounter worthwhile and take the attitude; “another unique opportunity to show how what I do was designed with you in mind…here we go again!”