Customer Service Pitfall: Don’t Spoil Your Customers, Unless They Are Paying For It

Do you work your fingers to the bone for your clients? Do you always go way out of your way to delight your clients? Many of us do and yet, we don’t really know or understand precisely how much our clients appreciate it. If we all asked our clients to pay for the extra service we are providing – how many would say yes? My experience is that most would say no. If this is the case, then you are banging your head against glass by offering the extra wow factor.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when a wow factor can help your business, but if provided consistently the wow factor just becomes a promise that you need to maintain. Sustainable delivery of 5-star service for a 3-star price will eventually catch up to the business owner. The business owner in this scenario has committed the most common and fatal flaw I know — ”trying to be everything to everyone”. Giving 5-star service to everyone – when you are not sure your clients really appreciate it is just plain old dumb.

Consider what is being said this way. Does the Holiday Inn, a popular 3-star hotel chain have satisfied clients and make money? Yes, because it delivers on a set of overt and covert promises made to a very targeted client who appreciates the 3-star experience. Generally speaking the 3-star experience would be the promise of a clean, well run hotel that offers a healthy breakfast or meal for an affordable price (mainstream price). You can ad that the Holiday Inn specializes in welcoming families by providing amenities. This hotel chain would start losing money if it tried to offer services that exceeded the 3-star level. For example if the 3-star hotel had a 5-star restaurant located inside, the people would not be satisfied because they would have to pay premium prices for their breakfast or meals. On the flip-side, if the hotel offered the 5-star restaurant experience for a 3-star price the hotel restaurant would lose a lot of money and still likely have dissatisfied customers because it takes a lot longer to cook a gourmet breakfast or meal vs. a mainstream one.

Can you imagine the young family coming down from their hotel room to sit down for breakfast in a 5-star restaurant?My kids would have driven everyone else crazy because it would have taken an extra 15 minutes for the gourmet eggs we really didn’t want in the first place.

Bottom line. Don’t fall into the pitfall of offering 5-star service to a client who appreciates and values a 3-star experience. Instead of thinking about wowing them, put your effort into ensuring the consistent delivery of the 3-star service. There are always gaps to identify and improve, be an expert in understanding the gaps between the promises you are making to your 3-star clients and the actual service you are providing!