EVERYTHING is marketing. Including your product delivery. Do you do EXCELLENT work?
I have a saying that everything is marketing. From the very first contact that somebody sees, if it’s an ad, if it’s a blog post, whatever, to the customer service that is happening as you’re in process on a transaction, anything. Every single communication, everything you do in business, your invoice, if you send an invoice, literally everything you do is marketing. When you think of that principal, I hope it becomes clear to you that there are things in your business right now, there are practices, there are methodologies, there are things that you are doing that you are probably not seeing the most benefit out of in terms of your marketing. There are some things that you can actually be doing better across these different areas.
One of the most practical areas of this is just in the work itself. I want to talk about this for just a minute about something that I’m calling “The Extra Mile of Excellence.” The idea about the extra mile of excellence is that in your actual product delivery, remember everything is marketing including your product delivery, what can you do in your product delivery that will help you become more appealing to your audience.
Another way of putting this is what can you do that would be so great, so infectious, worthy of your customer sharing with their friends and telling people about it, a great experience or even a surprising experience. There are actually multiple different ways we could go here, but I really want to try to laser focus in on just doing great work. That’s the point. The extra mile of excellence.
Sadly, in most lines of work, most occupations, most verticals, what we’re going to find is people who only do the bare minimum. But what can you do to set yourself apart? What can you do to make it practical? Survey the way that other people, 5, 10 or 15 other companies in your industry, how are they doing their product delivery? What are they doing for the same money or less, or more? And then how can you go above and beyond? How can you give that great experience? What is something you can do that makes it so easy for people to share that they’ve had a great experience?
I’m thinking of a situation, and I want to be sensitive here, because it does involve a client of mine. To keep it basic, I recently had a discussion with a client of mine regarding their process when it comes to customer service, specifically when it comes to warranty claims on their product. There is a particular system that they are using, I’m not talking necessarily about software, but of course there is software involved. There is a particular way of doing this that is spanning about multiple different employees. At the time of this recording anyway, the software that they are using is actually not meant to be handling this sort of thing, so it’s actually being shoehorned into making it work for what they are doing. What it’s ultimately resulting in is a subpar experience for their customers. Something I told them is, I believe it, and it’s also something that I want to share with you because I think it’s true. That is, I read a study sometime back on this, I can’t remember the statistic, a customer is a great percentage more likely to share a negative experience with their friends, colleagues and family than they are a positive experience. People are so adverse to negative experiences much more than they are thrilled by positive experiences, that the likelihood of somebody sharing a negative experience on social media or on a google review or something like that is just 10x higher or more than that of what they are going to share out of a positive experience. What that means is that you have to work extra hard to be able to get that positive review, especially without asking for it, and that positive sharing of referrals and word of mouth, things like that, and you have to really guard against things that can work in the opposite direction for you.
In this warranty claim, this customer service focused process, I was explaining to my client, you know, look, what you could do here, it’s probably going to take more money than what you’re spending on the process now. You might even have to hire an individual to actually man the phones and when a warranty claim comes in, return the phone call. But right now we have a process in place that is not the best experience for the customer. In fact, it’s actually kind of a bad experience for the customer, especially given that the customer is in the middle of processing a warranty claim and is therefore unhappy with the product. But if your response, instead of just an automated email and then follow up after some of the details are in, a couple days, if the response was in fact a phone call immediately, or within 2-4 hours (let’s be reasonable), a phone call within 2-4 hours saying, “hey, we’re so sorry you’re unhappy with your product. We’ve looked at the details and need to get a little bit more information from you. More than anything, we want you to know that we’re on top of the issue with getting it taken care of and this will not be a problem, so on and so forth, and I’m going to walk with you through the process.” That is an entirely different customer service experience.
If you give them the negative experience, they are going to share that like wildfire, to anybody who will listen. You’ve seen the Facebook rants, you’ve seen the Twitter rants, of people sharing their negative experiences. How often do you instead see a positive experience? I’ve seen it very rarely. So, I think the principle is important here. Do good work. Go the extra mile in all aspects of your business. You should be doing things that, frankly, just really compel people to share what you do. If you think what you do is important than you should be doing good work. You should be doing this anyway, especially if you are a Christian, we do our work as unto the Lord. We work from a place of understanding our role as a created being, God has essentially made us little creators, we tap in to the fabric of creatorship when we are doing good work.
There are good spiritual intentions and motivations for us to do that, but we can also just think about this from an empathy perspective. We should be giving the best experience to our customer because they’re our customer. They are made in the image of God, they are a person doing business with us, they think highly enough of us to give us money so that we can support our family, and then, of course, there is just the best interest of your business. You should go the extra mile of excellence because it’s good for business.
Well, I spent enough time with you in this episode, and I hope and pray that you take something away from this that is meaningful for you and useful for you in your own context. God bless you and we will see you in the next episode.