The Leaky Barrel of Marketing Theory uses the analogy of a funnel that empties water into a rain barrel that is riddled with holes. Almost as fast as the raindrops begin to fill the barrel, the water spurts out the sides, never filling it above the level of the holes.
These “holes in the barrel” are represented by a sundry of mistakes that green industry businesses make, and the water spurting out those holes are your hard-earned clients. These mistakes could include issues such as an out-of-date website, slow follow-up to prospects, surly employees or questionable quality of service. These are just a fraction of the reasons why potential loyal clients vote with their feet and cross the street to one of your competitors.
One of the challenges for most business owners, managers and employees today is they don’t really know what their customers are experiencing. They lose precious customers without ever knowing why. Let’s take a look at a strategy that can help you resolve this conundrum once and for all.
In order to identify and improve the customer experience in the market place, Ron Zemke and Karl Albrecht, customer service specialists and authors, created a tool they call the “cycle of service.” I call it a client touch point map.
The cycle of service is comprised of a series of “touch points.” A touch point is any time your potential customer comes into contact with your company in such a manner that it forms an impression about your business or organization.
Here is how you can create and use this powerful tool. Sit down with your entire team and plot out on a whiteboard all the steps a potential customer would take in order to do business with your company.
For example, the first step might be a person seeing one of your service vehicles in their neighborhood. They would notice the company logo, name and website on the vehicle. At the next step, they would visit your website. After viewing your website, they would call your office number and talk to a representative. Next, they would schedule an appointment with a salesperson, then meet with them. After that, they would receive a proposal and make a decision whether or not to use your services or buy any of your products. Next, your company would deliver that service or product. Finally, that customer would decide whether or not they were satisfied and would use you again and refer you.
Once you have identified the actual cycle of service your prospect goes through, you and your team must analyze each touch point. For example, let’s use the appointment where your sales person meets with the prospect to learn more about their needs and wants, and discusses how your company can meet their expectations.
Here is how this touch point unfolds into these components. Your salesperson calls ahead to confirm the appointment an hour before the meeting is to take place. Next, they pull up in your company vehicle, park in the street rather than the driveway, walk up to the front door and ring the door bell. The prospect sees the vehicle, and as they open the door they see the salesperson. Go step-by-step and follow each process through completely.
Going back and examining each component of this touch point, you and your team can now identify the actions your salesperson needs to take to meet the minimal standards. After this, identify how each component can be enhanced.
For example, here are just a few ways to enhance the particular component of the touch point where the salesperson is at the front door. The salesperson should park the company vehicle in the street, be dressed in a clean uniform that bears their name and the logo of your company, all of which can be easily seen and read. The salesperson has good eye contact, a cheerful smile, a friendly hello and they call the prospect by name.
Once you have a strategy developed that will enhance the particular touch point, teach it to each one of your team members who will be involved in that touch point with the client. As you are able to get everyone on board in delivering the enhanced version of your touch point experiences, you will be on your way to creating a quality client experience.