I ran across this post in the SCU archives from my good buddy Scott Bourne. It may have been written in the past, but it couldn't be more relevant RIGHT NOW!
When I read it I started thinking about the challenges with some of the vendors in my own community. We had a contractor whose work was outstanding, but he was never on time. With another vendor, found through HomeAdvisor.com for gutter cleaning, he never showed up as scheduled. Then there are restaurants who don't live up to expectations and the list goes on and on.
Five years ago I wrote my first review on Trip Advisor. Today I have almost 80,000 reads about restaurants, hotels and various locations around the area as well as when we've been traveling. Whatever our experience, I share it on TripAdvisor. And, there are other forums like Yelp, Home Advisor and Angie's List, along with smaller more local forums all over Facebook.
Here's my point: We're a word-of-mouth industry and all it takes is one upset customer to influence hundreds, if not thousands of others. So, the next time you make a promise to a client, even it's something as small as returning a phone call - be on time. Follow through and deliver on your promises and make great service part of your brand!
they insist that their friends do business with you.
If you pay any attention to media (social and other) you will note that the world is full of unhappy customers. Does this mean that people have all of a sudden become bad at their jobs? Does this mean companies don't care about their customers? I don't know. But I do know one certain way to make sure YOUR customers aren't mad at you. Always deliver. Period. No excuses. Just deliver.
WHAT you deliver has mostly to do with a customer service discipline called expectation management. Under promise and over deliver. That's what Disney does. They say the parks open at 9:00 AM, but in fact the gates open at 8:50 AM. When Disney says you can expect a 20 minute wait to experience one of their rides, they usually mean 15 minutes.
The secret here is that they under promise and over deliver. They manage their customers' expectations by telling them they will get XX and instead they get two times XX. This leads to happy customers.
Note that doing this doesn't require you to be quick, speedy, fast, etc. It requires you to know what your product delivery schedules are, then under promise the delivery date and time. You'll look like a hero when you come in ahead of schedule. Everyone will think you are fast. But you really just set yourself up to deliver.
And a photographer who gets the reputation of delivering consistently, on time, with a good product, will get all the free marketing in their community they can muster.
Always deliver. Try to do it with flair. Try to do it with the customers' needs in mind. But no matter what DELIVER. That is the recipe for a great marketing strategy that will get your customers singing your praises so you don't have to.