“The Seven Slight Edges to Keeping Your Customers”

According to a recent Harvard study, companies that make customer service the center of daily operations grow at twice the rate of their competition.  To do that company leaders need to create an environment of service. 

 In my twenty four years of working with title companies, real estate companies and mortgage bankers throughout the United States and I have noticed the little things companies did, and did very well, to keep their customers.  I call these little things, “Slight Edges.” 

 You’ve heard that term before, slight edges.  They are the seemingly little things you can do that make a big difference in the level of service you provide.  And, I have notice that there are seven slight edges.  Some companies I work with do three or four very well but, the very successful companies do all seven.  Practicing these seven slight edges will not only help you to grow from the inside out but, create an environment where to retain your employees.

Big Picture Thinking; Companies that deliver great service know ‘why’ they deliver great service.  They know and understand what’s in it for them, for the customer, and for their employees.  When you ask them, “Why is it so important to deliver great service?” you get answers like, “Well, the first time a customer does business with us, they spend $50 but, the second time they do business with us they spend $150.  So, we want to make sure they come back.”  Title companies know that first time home buyers will only stay in that house for 3 to 5 years.  So, they want to deliver great service so the customer will remember them and come back when they decide to sell.  Title companies want to deliver great service to their referral sources, like realtors, so they will continue to have closings with them.  This is the ‘why’ behind the drive.  Companies that see the Big Picture demonstrate a long term thinking process.  They put their clients and referral sources in a campaign to keep their business.  Companies that deliver poor look at customers as ‘work’ and not growth.  They are incapable of thinking beyond themselves; they view realtors as a demanding distraction.  Do this; ask your employees, “Why is it so important that we deliver great service to the customer?”  Listen to their responses; do they reflect small or big picture thinking?  It’s vital for your managers to be painting big picture for the staff.

“Faith; Living in Your Imagination”

The ‘Slight Edge’ of FAITH has many facets.  First; it’s about measurements; companies that deliver great service have faith and have units of measurements in place to help them keep the faith.  For instance, one client told me the first time a customer comes into their store they spend $20.00.  But, the second time the customer comes in spends over $100.00.  They track the number of times a customer returns and how much they spend.

Faith is belief in something we have no proof of.  This is another facet to faith, confidence in things we can’t control.  Companies that deliver great customer service don’t know for certain that smiling, making eye contact, standing up to greet the customer will bring them back but, they have faith that it will.

But here is the aspect of faith I would like to share with you.  Companies, or people for that matter, that lack faith, are living in their history.  Living in their history means they are always making excuses; “That’s not how we do things here.”  Or they say, “This is the way we’ve always done it.”  They are always looking in their rearview mirror.  They are continually looking at the way it’s always been, not how it could be. 

Whereas companies and people who live in their imagination are always looking to how things can be.  They see a future of positivity, a future that includes a new and different way to look at things.  They are motivated by what could be and not by what has been. 

Listen to the way you and the people around you are talking.  Are the comments you hear reflective of history, status quo?  If so, you need to set the example of living in your imagination by painting a big picture of how things can be.