Creating customers for life, raving fans and customer loyalty are all terms used to describe the kind of tribe that many businesses aspire to build.
Building and earning the enviable position of a business of choice with repeat clientele and referral business is a smart business strategy. The ability to anticipate and exceed the expectations of customers is the core and primary focus of organisations that surpass their competitors. They have, by design, created a service-centric brand.
When it comes to real estate, raving fans are not simply satisfied clients who have used your services. Anyone and everyone can be one of them. Like individuals, brands have identities, and people often form opinions about them well before they engage with a company. The “service-centric” approach does not necessarily refer to the experience we provide just to customers. It is the impression and experience a potential client receives prior to engaging with the organisation, whether it is through the visual collateral in the marketplace or through the recommendations and reviews from family and friends — the latter being the most influential.
The intrinsic value to a service-centric brand will outstrip those businesses which operate simply as a commodity many times over. Differentiation and innovation is key to developing a service-centric brand and positioning that business ahead of the competition. It may sound difficult to do in a sea of sameness, but here are some suggestions to get you on track:
A customer-centric culture – It all starts and ends with the people in the organisation. Foster a culture and environment that is obsessed with client service and, more importantly, the client experience. How we make people feel, those that we work with, those that work for us and those we serve, is what separates the average, the good and the great. Organisations must adopt a “customers must come first” philosophy, not at the expense of the organisation’s people, but rather as the binding force of team culture. The oxymoron of “customers come first” is that it’s the team behind the organisation that is placed first (i.e. with support, recognition and value) and only then will it translate to a “customers come first mantra”.
Brand values – Whether they are written or not, every brand reflects its values to its community through every interaction it has with the consumer and people who interact with it. When values are formed using a deliberate and conscious process and not accidental or ad hoc, it will guide the organisation in everything it does. What an organisation stands for says a lot about its service offering and client experience.
Raving fan moments – The best client experiences do not just happen. They become an inherent part of the organisation’s processes. They are more than deliberate; they are part of an organisation’s DNA. “Wow moments” are what they simply do. To ensure they happen, leading organisations identify every consumer touch point in their processes; from the initial contact right through to the after-sale follow-up. Nothing is left to chance and a system is in place to ensure that each customer is exposed to a client experience that exceeds expectations. Under-promise and over-deliver is a mantra great organisations live by.
Consistency – A company that does not lose sight of what it stands for and reflects it as a consistent and transparent message throughout their brand marketing will gain clients’ trust. Consistency, frequency and placement need to work together to promote service-centric values effectively.
When it comes to creating a service-centric brand, every employee must assume a leadership role. The manager’s responsibility will always be to refine and enhance the customer experience, to constantly raise the bar. However, leaders must seek out and hire employees who possess that innate behaviour. Any effort to build a customer-centric brand will be an uphill battle when the wrong people are on the team.
Manos Findikakis is CEO and co-founder of the Eview Group.