He got me at ‘a free Prosecco’…

One evening during my recent holiday in Lake Garda (Italy) we were wandering around the old town, looking for a restaurant that served good food, and had an authentic friendly Italian atmosphere.

We didn’t think it would be hard, but most of the restaurants we passed were either empty or only served Pizzas (not great if you don’t eat gluten).

Eventually we turned into a cobbled square and stumbled upon a good contender – it was busy with lots of groups sitting outside eating tasty looking food. As we checked out the menu a jovial Italian waiter approached us and asked if we’d like a free glass of Prosecco–that got my attention. And then he proudly announced they didn’t serve Pizza–now I was in!

That was the start a lovely meal and evening. But what made it so special?

  • The restaurant was making an effort to engage with potential customers – everywhere else around them was quiet but they had a couple of waiters dedicated to greeting passers by in an appealing way, and making their new customers feel very welcome. What do you prefer, to be ignored or to be acknowledged?
  • They gave us an incentive to come in – we were both offered a free glass of Prosseco. If someone were to offer you something you’d love for free (when you were intending to buy it anyway) would you be tempted?
  • The food was delicious – if you want repeat business or referrals, providing what your customers are hoping for is a great start!
  • We felt they cared about our experience – all the staff were really friendly and regularly asked if the food they’d served was to our liking. How often do you check in with your clients or community, to find out if they are happy with what you’re giving them?
  • They gave us an additional surprise  – a lemon sorbet ‘from the kitchen’, while they were preparing the bill. Again delivering something we weren’t expecting. Do you like to receive free gifts or bonuses? How often do you do something similar for your clients?

But it didn’t stop there – after we’d paid our bill, they gave us another voucher for two glasses of free Prosecco, for our next visit or which we could give to someone else. A highly effective marketing strategy for many different types of business. And served drinks at the end with branded sugar saying ‘We love you…’

Having experienced all this, it was no surprise that this restaurant was full when a lot of their ‘competitors’ around them were empty. There were so many things that made this a very positive customer experience – the appealing atmosphere, a brilliant ‘on-boarding’ sequence for new customers, they quickly delivered what they’d promised (the Prosecco followed by delicious food), and their continual great service all made us feel special.

In his brilliant book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, Tony Hsieh emphasises the value of integrating great customer service across all areas of your business, not just when in contact with customers. And importance of treating every client/customer conversation as an opportunity to solve their problems, rather than other sales objectives. At one point he talks proudly of a customer service team member stepping outside the realms of their shoe business, to help a caller order Pizza!

I’m so glad we ate in that restaurant – not just because we enjoyed a great meal but because it’s again helped me focus on how to add more value and be of greater service to those I’d love to help. The client experience is at the core of the way I’ve been developing The Heartabiz Hub over the last few months, and I’m excited to be considering how I could refine this further.

Here are some questions I’ve found useful, that could help you be of greater value to your customers, and attract more business opportunities:

  • What does great customer service look or feel like to you?
  • How could you be of greatest service to your clients/customers?
  • What influences you to walk away from a purchase?
  • When do you feel you’ve received poor customer service?
  • Where does your customer service fall down?
  • How could you improve your customer service?
  • What could you do to add value to your customers?
  • How could you help potential clients determine whether working with you would solve their problems?
  • How could you serve more people so you have greater impact?

Sometimes when we’re in business it can be easy to get distracted by the need to attract new clients rather than exploring ways to boost customer service, client engagement and retention. But don’t forget; your current clients and followers are the warmest and often most loyal pool of people you could be serving.

When your customers and contacts become real advocates of your work and willingly send you business, you’ll be able to spend more time doing what you love and spend less time (and money) chasing new business.

Have fun being of greatest service!

I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts – please do share your comments below.

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Alisoun Mackenzie is The Compassionate Business Mentor, Author, and Speaker who inspires business owners and social entrepreneurs to turn their passions into profits and make a difference in the world. 

She is also the author of two Amazon Best Selling books Heartatude, The 9 Principles of Heart-Centered Success and Give to Profit: How to Grow Your Business by Supporting Charities Social Causes.

Alisoun is also the founder of The Heartabiz Hub a business network and training academy and has written the following free ebooks:

  • The 9 Secrets to Signing Up Clients Without Selling (click here)
  • 101 Ways To Attract Great Clients, With Heart, Integrity & Social Impact (click here)
  • 52 Ways to Raise Funds for Charities and Social Causes Through Your Business  (click here)

You can connect with Alisoun here:

  • Alisoun Mackenzie Facebook Fanpage (for tips on authentic living and business mastery) – click HERE
  • The Heartabiz Hub Facebook Fanpage (for details about our courses and events) – click HERE
  • Give To Profit Facebook Fanpage (tips on supporting charities and social causes) – click HERE
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