Article courtesy of Give to Get Marketing
A Quick Way to Win New Customers - And An Even Faster Way to Lose Them, Part 1 by Jose Gracia
Continued from Part 1... (click here to read Part 1)
The owner got an excellent conversion!
Of the 20 members who attended the spa night, 12 acted on the Gift Certificate offer. That's 60%.
Of those, ten continued using her services. I know that because Maria knows all the members pretty well. Maria was so impressed with their services that she became a long- term customer as well.
The spa owner was so happy with the results that she is planning to do another 'spa night' for the group this year--there are lots of new members that don't know about her business. She promises that it will be even better than last year's event. (Is that even possible??)
I hope you will think about this story and then try to relate it to your business. How can you do something similar? If you have a terrific product or service that you know people would buy if they only knew more about it, or got a chance to try it, then there's a good chance this strategy could work for your business too.
So, that's the good part of the story.
Now, I have to tell you that Maria already cautioned me over lunch today about sharing the 'other side of the story,' with you.
'Please don't make them look bad, just because they made one mistake. They treated me and the members of our club wonderfully, and I don't want them to think that we're ungrateful.'
I assured her that my intent was not to make them look bad. I've already told you that the owner is an excellent marketer, and I admire the way she is growing her business.
My intent is to show you how one marketing mistake--a mistake that is performed by millions of small business owners every day--can instantly undo a ton of goodwill.
About 8-9 months have passed since 'spa night.' The new clients that she attracted that night are now solid, happy customers.
Except for one--let's call her Gail.
Gail has been very happy with the products and services she has purchased from Hair and Spa. She has also been very happy with her hair stylist.
The last time she had her hair styled, her stylist recommended a new product. She said, 'Gail, if you don't like it, no problem. Just bring it back.' And with that recommendation, Gail purchased the new product.
Unfortunately, after her first time using it, Gail wasn't happy with the results.
So, a few days later she brought the product back to ask for a refund, or at least a credit.
Her stylist wasn't working that day, so she spoke with the girl at the counter.
Can you guess where I am heading?
You got it. The girl at the counter said she couldn't give a refund or a credit. Even after Gail told her what her stylist had said, the counter girl said, 'Sorry, we can't issue refunds on used products.'
All the goodwill was instantly undone
Gail now had a knot in her stomach. Gail asked to speak to the owner.
The owner came out, and Gail explained the situation. The owner had an opportunity to save an already bruised relationship. Unfortunately, she missed it.
To her credit, she did agree to refund Gail's money--but it was obvious to Gail that she wasn't happy about doing it.
There's a good chance that had the owner smiled and said, something like, 'Normally, we don't do that. But since you're such a good customer, it's no problem at all. We can make an exception in your case.'
Of course, she should have said that quietly to Gail so that the entire salon wouldn't hear. That probably would have made Gail feel a lot better.
But that's not the way the situation was handled and because of that, Gail felt really badly about her experience. So badly, in fact, that she has decided not to return.
Is a bottle of shampoo really worth the loss of a good customer? It's at times like these that the level of loyalty is formed by your customers.
The absolute best way to handle customer requests for refunds, is to simply do it--in a cheerful manner. If you have an unreasonable number of requests for refunds, then it's time for you to reexamine the quality of your products or services.
As a business owner, your job is to make your prospects and customers feel happy--your job is to never make them feel bad. Now, I understand that there are rare occasions when you are dealing with an unreasonable customer who's life's mission is to rip off businesses. If that is the case, then I would say, tactfully, but firmly end the relationship.
But, the problem arises, when business owners begin to see 'any' customer who is unhappy with a product, service or company experience as a royal pain--the enemy. I'm not saying that the owner of Hair and Spa feels that way, just that a lot of business owners do. If they would just put themselves in their customer's position, they would see that it just isn't true.
It doesn't take much for employees to adopt this 'unhappy customers are the enemy,' point of view. And they are usually more than happy to let those customers know about their feelings. All it takes is rolling eyes or a sigh from the business owner, and the message takes root. I know this is true from years of small business consulting.
No one knows what was going on in the mind of the owner of 'Hair and Spa' that day. Perhaps the tax bill had just arrived. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and say that this was probably just an isolated incident.
Again, this business owner is doing amazing things in marketing her business, and from everything else I've heard, she understands the importance of keeping her customers happy. You can learn a lot about successfully marketing a small business by her 'spa night' example.
Remember, it's all about giving them what they want, and making them feel good.
Isn't it amazing how much you can learn about marketing from a small, country town like Watertown?