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Do Your Referrals Come This Good?
After spending 25 years in customer facing roles I am a cynical and often-disappointed recipient of ‘take it or leave it’ customer service. I find that friends and family tend to rely on me to go back to a store manager or restaurant owner and provide constructive feedback about a poor experience. I’m the guy that everyone looks at when something goes wrong to see whether I am going to make a big deal of it. Having said all of that, I am absolutely against this new trend of complaining for the opportunity of getting something for free (that’s a whole new blog for another day).
So, when an experience is out of this world and blows my mind at the magnanimous effort displayed, I feel it deserves absolute grandstanding and promotion. Not to mention that this business outcome forms the basis of some serious referral marketing. What a great way to expand your customer base without spending any money!
I was a regular customer of Renegade Cycles (http://www.renegadecycles.com.au/) in Lane Cove, NSW. Why? This is where I lived………once. After moving out of the area, I took my bike to other stores for servicing and to purchase cycling stuff. But it dawned on me that they never quite lived up to my expectations. I had a race coming up and the bike needed a service. I decided to drive 20 something kilometres in painful Sydney traffic to Renegade Cycles even though I hadn’t been there for over a year. The guys were typically friendly and happy to help, and of course they remembered my name.
As I was about to leave, I mentioned a little trouble with my suspension. Was there anything they could do? One quick look, a couple of key questions and they knew exactly what the problem was. It needed to be sent to the manufacturer for servicing. Mmmmmm, small dilemma. That was likely to take 5 to 10 days. I needed the bike back for my last weekend of training so we went with the deluxe service, which I might add, was completed in a day (awesome timing, even though they were busy). They didn’t have the special brake pads I needed so they would order them in and do them after the weekend so I could have my bike. Given the time it would take to send the suspension off, I decided that it would have to wait until after the race.
I trained on the weekend and then took my bike back in on the Tuesday (long weekend) for the brakes. Inevitably the suspension issue came up. It was worse than my previous ride and was going to seriously impede my race. After much discussion with the guys at the shop, they proactively offered to ring the manufacturer to see what could be done. This was 4 days prior to the race.
At around 4.30pm on the Tuesday I got a call to let me know that my bike was completely fitted with an entire new suspension system. “What? How could you possibly…..?” Renegade had spent the whole day ringing and riding around to resolve the issue. They spoke with the Manufacturer who put them on to the authorised warranty dealer that just happened to be in Chatswood. They negotiated with the dealer to fix the bike and manage the warranty issue with the manufacturer. They physically rode the bike to Chatswood (about 20kms round trip), had the entire suspension system replaced and handled the issue of warranty on my behalf. All done proactively and without fuss or fanfare!!!!!
You can imagine my full surprise and adulation when I received the call to explain that it had been completely rectified in a day. The funny part was that the brake pads took longer. Needless to say, I had a blitzing race and beat my previous best time by 40 minutes. Yes, I’m giving full kudos to Renegade Cycles for that sensational race time, they deserve it!
Back to the important part…….how do you as a business protect your Customer Experience? Do you have a strategy? Do you have a culture that instils this kind of response? Do you know whether your customers enjoy dealing with you and reward you with their loyalty? Do they tell their friends and family about you? I knew that Renegade Cycles were good, but this experience cements my desire to deal with them exclusively regardless of where I live. They have earned my custom, and they more than deserve my referrals!!!!
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See you later.