I go through the day interacting with many people and rarely stop to evaluate those interactions. In any given week, I might visit ten or more businesses as a customer or client. From getting gas, buying lunch, dropping my child off at school, visiting the doctor, or buying toothpaste from the pharmacy. . . I have multiple opportunities as a customer to be wowed. However, I’d have a difficult time pinpointing the last time I had an exceptional customer experience. Similarly, it’d be tough for me to recall the last time I had an awful customer experience. Am I walking through life with blinders on? Am I spending too much time on my phone rather than focusing on the wonderful levels of service I’m receiving? Or am I simply not experiencing anything worth remembering?
It is often stated that customers are more likely to share a negative experience than a positive one. However, the lack of a negative experience is not shown to improve customer retention or loyalty. Giving your clients an experience that matches their expectations - no more or no less - will not help your practice retain those clients.
Why do your clients return?
You must focus on creating an exceptional experience for your clients that goes above and beyond what your competition does. Any hospital can offer discounts, promotions, or use other attempts to steal away clients. And if you have a client base that returns to your practice simply out of convenience or lack of anything horrific having happened, then you are at risk of losing them to these very gimmicks.
On the contrary, if you have a client base that returns to your practice because of a personal connection or an amazing experience, then they are less likely to be drawn away by your competition. In fact, they will not only be loyal to you, but they will share their loyalty with others. These clients will become your greatest marketing asset. Therefore, it is critical to think of client satisfaction as much more than a score you receive on feedback forms. Instead, consider it a daily challenge taken on by every employee to wow your clients.
How do you create an exceptional experience for your clients?
Start by defining a set of things you would want your clients to say about your practice. Get the whole team involved. You could brainstorm for 30 minutes in a team meeting, send around a mass email for people to list their ideas, or place a board in the break room and ask people to write their ideas on it throughout the week. However you do it, allow everyone on your team to identify what amazing client service means to them. Let everyone share what they want the practice to be known for and what they want clients to say about their service.
Once you generate this list, your practice can begin to set a vision around what client service looks like. Making these goals into reality is dependent upon your ability to create a culture around this new vision. Some ways you can do this are:
- Reward employees who go above and beyond in their client experience.
- Hold brief daily meetings and ask the team to share stories about how they wowed a client that day.
- Model what a great client experience looks like and catch others in the moment.
- Hand out “wow” cards to your clients that ask if anyone did anything to exceed their expectations. Then offer incentives for staff who get recognized.
There are countless ways to keep the momentum going and to inspire the team to go above and beyond. But in order for this to work and truly stick, there has to be a consistent match between what you want your team to focus on externally and what you celebrate, reward, discuss, and implement internally.
So, I leave you with two questions:
- What is your business doing to make your current and future clients choose you?
- And how are you, as a leader, creating a culture of exceptional client service?