The silver bullet – the magical (and mythical) marketing method that provides a solution to a complicated business problem: increasing sales and growth.
Assuming, your business offers a good product or service, this marketing insight is the most valuable I can offer and is the closest thing to a silver bullet: Exceeding Customer Expectations.
To exceed the expectations of your customers is not a concept or a theory – it’s a calculated marketing strategy. This strategy ignites word of mouth, helps to scale online reviews, and establishes a competitive advantage over your competitors.
This post will share how to exceed the expectations of your customers and will highlight a business that does this on a world-class level.
On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being Poor and 5 being Excellent), how would you grade yourself at each point of interaction? More importantly, how would your customers grade you?
The results of this exercise will set you on the path to identifying areas for improvement and begin the process of developing word of mouth.
I’d like to share a real story about a small business run by a couple of entrepreneurs: my parents, Conrad and Jennie La Barrie.
My folks own and operate an eco-kayaking tour on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean. Their business, Antigua Paddles, is touted by people with extensive cruise experience, to be the best tour of the Caribbean. (Have a look at their TripAdvisor reviews).
Despite having more than 100 competitors (on an island that’s 12 miles long and 9 miles wide) all of whom are competing for the same cruise ship passengers, my parents have managed to gain a competitive advantage and run a thriving business with no advertising and a mediocre web presence.
Their success is a result of exceeding the expectations of their guests by adopting an old-school way of thinking: Treat people as you wish to be treated. However, they’ve taken this philosophy and built it into all customer points of interaction down to the minute details. The result is raving fans who become advocates by shouting to the heavens both online and in person to all who will listen about Conrad and Jennie and their kayak tour.
16 years into their business, the word of mouth marketing my parents have generated is fly-wheeling. Each year, former customers return as loyalists bringing their friends who are converted into loyalists themselves which keeps the flywheel spinning. Exceeding expectations consistently day after day has allowed them to build the momentum required to make word of mouth a full-blown marketing campaign.
My parents have a bigger challenge than most other business operators in that the expectations of their guests are very high. When people come to the Caribbean on holiday, they expect to be wowed by smiling faces, beautiful azure waters in a tropical paradise.
Furthermore, because of the reputation they’ve built, people are expecting an amazing experience. So the question my parents are challenged with is:
The answer isn’t by being better at customer service. The answer is making each customer point of interaction more personal as truly great marketing is connecting with people on that level.
How my parents connect on a personal level is understanding how their customers are likely to feel at any given point throughout the customer experience. In other words, they use empathy based on their own travel experiences to understand their guests’ needs and fulfilling them before their guests even have to ask.
This is where the true magic lies!
Exceeding expectations is more than simply delivering “good customer service”. It’s a marketing strategy
that pays close attention to the details of every customer point of interaction and anticipates your customer’s next want before they know it themselves. It is an art form and when executed like my parents, creates loyalists – the most valuable kind of customer.