Defining Your Expectations For Delivery MasteryWhen you are building the foundation for your business, there are several critical ‘footings' which must be present. How you deliver your product or service is critical to building repeat and consistent business. Before looking at the components of delivery let's talk about why this is so important, and so much more than just bringing your product or service to your customer.
1) The Owners: The business must serve them by providing a profit,
2) The Team: The business must serve them by providing recognition, rewards, and a paycheck,
3) The Suppliers: The business must serve them by paying their bills,
4) The Customers: The business must serve them by fulfilling their needs,
Think about this as a four legged table if one of these legs is taken away or ignored, what happens? The table falls, likewise for your business.
Consider this example to demonstrate the importance of all the legs working together. You've been going to your favorite restaurant for three years and you know that without fail they will greet you by name bring you to your favorite table and have your drinks brought over in seconds. Last month you referred some friends to go there, they were treated extremely well and it's now their favorite restaurant. You know that the ‘delivery' of customer service will be always up to your expectations. Last week you went there and things were off. You had a long wait, and they were out of your favorite drink and the food was mediocre. What happened? As you found out during a brief conversation, someone in the office had "forgotten" to pay the drink vendor and that supplier had cut them off. Since you loved this restaurant in the past you go back the following week and while things were better (they had a new drink vendor) they still were off. To save money the owner had gotten rid of the bus boys and the wait staff was now required to clear their own tables. Guess what, this took them too long and they ignored their customers. Within weeks a restaurant that was known for consistent delivery is now very inconsistent and starting to go downhill. You frequent a business not only because you like the product or service they offer, but because the service they deliver to you is what you want, need and expect. Isn't that right? How often do you return to a business when the service you get is below your expectations? Maybe one more time - because this was your favorite restaurant you're a nice person and want to give them the benefit of the doubt. But if the service they provide is sub-par on the second visit, you probably will find another business to serve you.
Each and every time you or a member of your team is interacting with a customer they must be aware and tuned into the customer's feelings about you and you're business. I call this DELIVERY Mastery. Mastering delivery includes creating precise measureable customer service standards designed specifically for your business and to the needs of your four main stakeholders.
These standards will insure that your desired outcomes will be delivered consistently each and every time. Addressing the needs of your stakeholders are four core areas to implement and execute on when working on Delivery Mastery:
* Can your customer get what they pay for, with on time delivery?
* Are your products and services being delivered consistently, every time?
* Do you know the volume of sales that your current system can handle?
* What would happen if you increased sales by 10, 20 even 50%? Could your current system manage?
* What does consistent delivery mean to you and your team?
* Are you delivering consistent quality every time?
* Analyze what areas you deliver well.
* Analyze what areas need improvement.
* Review and act on customer complaints.
* Do you have ‘policies' in place that complicate the buying process?
* Have you ever heard, "but it's our policy"?
* Are you easy to find and contact?
* Is your contact information ‘buried' in your website?
* How easy is it to pay for your product or service?
* Have you ever used a mystery shopper service to evaluate your ease of buying?
* #1 area customers want to see is knowledge
* Are you training your team to smile and provide excellent service?
* Are you WOWing your customers?
Training is critical - remember every contact with a customer or prospect is an opportunity to increase your business.
While looking at these areas understand what your goals are for delivery. What works for one business might not work for another. What is the experience you want your customers to ‘feel'? These four areas will be the basis for creating your step by step process to provide consistency with every customer interaction.
Every impression and interaction influences the delivery experience that your customers have with you. As the business owner, you must set the standards you expect in each of these areas for your business. You must define the level of inventory you want to maintain, the cleanliness of your shop or office, the dress of your team members, the scripts used when answering the phone, etc. All of these must link together to comprise the complete delivery experience your customers are expecting.
Your challenge is to define your expectations for delivery, and then make sure your expectations are fulfilled each and every time you engage with a customer. Hold your team accountable to these delivery standards and you will be well on your way towards Delivery Mastery in your business!