18/10/2018 by Pascoe Partners Accountants
With businesses finding it increasingly difficult to stand out in the crowd, a recent holiday hotel experience got me thinking about the importance of personalising the customer experience.
I recently holidayed in Malaysia and it was interesting to note how the resort staff interacted with the patrons.
Residents at the hotel came from many different countries and the staff, whilst treating all with respect, had different approaches depending on the nationality of the guest.
In some cases, they were very relaxed and accommodating while at other times they were very direct.
I should add that it did not appear to me that any of the patrons took offense to the treatment.
My experience got me thinking about my own interactions with clients – and what more we could be doing for them to improve the customer experience.
Some customers almost want you to make the decision for them when others just want to be presented with the alternatives and they will make what they think is the appropriate choice (regardless of whether we think this is right or not).
The only way that this can be achieved without offending (and then losing!) the customer is to know what their preference is. And we can only do this by getting to know them.
In some cases, our interactions with customers may be very brief – in which case, like the waiters in Malaysia, it should be done with the same courtesy that we would expect to receive.
Other customers may have been with the organisation for a number of years. In this case, we should try to get to know them better and tailor our advice to their particular needs.
Tools like questionnaires or surveys can be useful to get to know clients better. Financial planners use such tools as a fact-finding exercise to gather basic data. This can certainly help.
Another option is to sit down with your client and ask open-ended questions along the lines of What keeps you awake at night? to gather insights into their troubles and concerns.
These sort of questions not only work well for personal advice; even the local hardware store does it by getting to know the problem that you’re trying to fix before selling you something to fix it.
The point is that it can work across all businesses.
But bear in mind that where and when you choose to have these conversations with clients is also important.
We can all get to the situation where we’re time poor and trying to get answers to some tricky questions does not work well when people are pushed for time. The responses in these circumstances will be brief and not well considered.
Choose a time when your client is able to relax a little and have a conversation with you. Ask them if you can record the conversation so that the flow is not interrupted with trying to take notes. All smartphones have this capability.
Finding the problem and then providing a solution is what works for all businesses. If you’ve got a problem that you’re looking for a solution for, contact us for an initial discussion.