Two of the best books I’ve ever read about customer service are Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Customers for Life by Carl Sewell. If you haven’t read them, pick them up now.
The books dramatically changed the way I look at customer service. They have now become must-reads for our employees. I’d like to share key takeaways and how they can help you “yellow tux” your business.
The most staggering statistic I took away from Customers for Life was the lifetime value of a customer. The author, Sewell owns a car dealership and he realized that the lifetime value of just one customer was $517,000. This was based not only on buying cars but servicing them throughout their life.
This was a game changer for him. He realized that at this value he can’t afford to lose customers. So he went all in on providing the best possible customer experience. He looked at everything at his dealership. He noticed the streets leading up to his dealership weren’t always clean. Even though it was the city’s responsibility, he hired additional street sweepers to make the streets and entrance more beautiful. He invested thousands to build the nicest and most state of the art bathrooms. Sewell looked at every facet of his dealership. He wanted to make it beautiful and memorable. His dealerships quickly became one of the most profitable dealerships in the country.
It started with realizing the lifetime value of his customers.
If you knew the lifetime value of your customers, how much would you do to make the experience better?
Now it is a challenge to come up with this value. But start by looking at your best customer. How much do they spend at your business annually? How long could this continue? And how many of their immediate friends or family could become customers as well?
Sewell’s book was an eye opener. But Ken Blanchard simplified the concept even better in Raving Fans. Basically, Blanchard shares that all businesses should be focused on one thing, turning customers into Raving Fans.
He shares a number of stories about different businesses such as a department store, grocery store and manufacturing plant. But it was the cab driver that hit home for me. The cab was polished and cleaned. The driver offered magazines and newspapers and then even cold drinks in a cooler. It was the picture-perfect cab experience. And this was before Uber and Lyft.
After reading this book, I immediately begin to think about every touch point with our teams. What do people see when they walk in our stadium? How are they greeted when they arrive and when they leave? How do we take care of them when they are in lines? My mind continues to race when I think of all the things we can do better.
But it all starts with asking just one question.
What is the perfect experience for our customer?
Now before every season I take all of our new interns and game day staff on to the street in front of our stadium. I tell them it starts here as their car pulls up. What can we do to make it amazing?
We have a long way to go but we know where to start. What does your perfect experience look like?