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Mike Gorun

Mike Gorun Managing Partner/CEO

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Thanks for the Memories

What was the last restaurant you ate at? Did you tell anyone about it? Why? What prompted you to do so? Did you get good service, bad service? Was the food great or horrible?

What these questions all have in common is that they all answers the fundamental aspects of what type of customer experience that restaurant provided. You’re certainly more likely to share your experience with others if you had a memorable experience – whether it was good or bad. What if it was just “OK” though?

An interesting article I recently came across asked its readers to consider the possibility that providing an average customer experience is worse than providing a poor one. We’ve all heard the analogy that a happy customer tells 10 people and an unhappy customer tells 100 people. How many people does a person who just had an average experience tell? If your friends came to you and asked about this restaurant and you just had an average experience, you’d probably just say, “It was fine.” You certainly wouldn’t go out of your way to tell anyone about it, however.

When a customer comes into your dealership, you have the opportunity to define their experience. These are the three types of experiences you can offer:

  1. A great experience – By providing a great experience, you have the opportunity to potentially earn repeat business. You could potentially be the one that pops up in your customers’ minds when asked for recommendations from their networks. You may even be able to create a brand advocate and collect some positive online reviews and social media buzz.
  2. A poor experience – If you subscribe to the “All press is good press” philosophy, providing a poor experience to your customers, at the very least, has some branding possibilities. Provide a poor experience and you are certainly more likely to be on people’s lips when mentioned. They will be passionate and opinionated when it comes to your business. And, in many cases, they will be proactively making sure that others know where you failed. The chances of earning their business again probably lessen but that is dependent on how bad the experience was. They may still patronize your dealership but their reasons will become completely self-centered – convenience, time, cost – rather than having anything to do with loyalty.
  3. An average experience – By being “average”, you completely remove passion from the equation. By failing to be different – in any way – you won’t be on your customers’ minds at all. They won’t say good things or bad things or anything. Think about the last time you asked your friend for their opinion on something – a product, restaurant, store, etc. If they answered, “It was just OK,” chances are you kept looking. Or consider the last time you asked a friend whether they liked a movie they just watched and they replied with the opinion of “it was just alright.” That movie probably moved from the “let’s go to the theater and see it” list to the “wait for it to come out on DVD” list.
     

Your customers’ experiences are what define you as a business. Regardless if you are selling lemonade from a corner stand or $300,000 automobiles, the same concepts apply. The experience you choose to provide to your customers will dictate if and how they talk about you. Provide a great or poor one and you’ll have people talking about you. They’ll certainly be saying different things, but your business is on their minds. Provide an average one and you won’t exist until they need that next oil change and only if you’re the closest or most convenient place.

You need to decide if you want people talking about your business, and, if so, what you want them saying. Whatever you decide, the solution lies in one of those three experiences. If you want your customers to create positive buzz, provide a great customer experience. If you don’t care what they’re saying as long as they’re saying something, provide some kind of experience. If you really don’t want anyone talking about you at all, be average. Nobody will notice or care.

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