Like all consumers, I have favourite places where I shop or go to for particular services.
These are places that I return to, no matter what, because I am loyal to them.
It goes deeper than just having a relationship, because they have to do a lot wrong to cause me to look elsewhere.
How did they earn this? (And it's important to realise that this relationship is earned and transcends price as a decision driver).
Such businesses do the basics very well, go the extra mile and in some cases even provide an experience which pleasantly surprises.
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As a consumer we experience transactions on the basis of the following:
1. Needs – we have a need so we seek out those who can satisfy it. This is the most basic component of the purchase transaction.
As a provider of goods and services this is the bare minimum you must achieve.
Meeting needs is the foundation in terms of service, and if you do just this (and don't screw up) you can get by.
However it's unlikely that you will create die hard loyalty although you may get "regulars".
2. Wants – These go beyond needs.
Satisfying wants is starting to build on the foundation of need.
I might need to get my car warrant of fitness updated, at the same time I might want somewhere to sit and a magazine to read while it is done.
It's about making the experience more enjoyable and also providing things over and above the basic transaction.
3. Delighters – It's here where loyalty and long relationships are born.
If needs are the foundation and wants are the house then delighters are the furnishings and artwork.
Here the retailer or service provider does something unique and memorable and, hey presto, a long-term relationship is born!
Last week I needed to get my vehicle attended to because of an altercation between my front bumper and a very high lip of a car park verge.
The damage was reasonably superficial but, unfortunately, noticeable. This required a trip to a panelbeater specifically for the damaged fender to be attended to. So, there is a need and, after a brief and professional discussion it was met by my vehicle being booked in for the work to occur.
The job was actually more complex than I imagined but the team explained it all thoroughly and I was comfortable with the job ahead – even if the manager who attended to my enquiry could probably tell through my body language that I was still pretty unhappy with the architect of the verge I hit.
What I wanted (rather than needed) was assurance that this was the right course of action – taking into account the cost – and that was readily provided.
The delighters – and I didn't think that I would have experienced this noting the scale of the job I required undertaken – were numerous and show a local business who have successfully locked on to customer value.
Firstly, the job was finished and my car handed back to me earlier than quoted. Secondly the car was returned to me cleaner and tidier than when I handed it over.
And finally, I was given a bag of lollies from the Thistle Sweet Shop (a local supporting another local which also impressed me).
So, these delighters have embedded a strong relationship and loyalty for me, I advocated for this business only last week and my car looks fantastic.
I recommend that you choose Larsens on Taupo Quay when you and your vehicle encounter immovable objects, you'll be delighted with the service!
If you would like help in making your business more effective, call Russell at Whanganui's Balance Consulting on 021-244-2421.