Two months ago I switched my company’s wireless carrier from AT&T, a relationship we’d had for nineteen problem-free years, to a low-cost competitor. We made the switch for one reason: To cut costs.
Seventy-two hours into the new vendor’s relationship, I knew we had a problem. Clients were all the time saying, “You’re breaking up,” or “I didn’t catch that.” The LTE service was laughable.
The new carrier was cheaper, yes. And the salespeople we worked with were delightful. However, the service was unacceptable. I had to breach the contract, paying out the big bucks to switch back to AT&T.
My brief stint with a low-cost competitor reminded me of two profound lessons small businesses must never forget.
1. Friendly Employees Aren’t Enough
When it comes to a significant other, it’s not enough to have someone who is gorgeous and a great conversationalist. You want the person to be loyal, consistent, and committed.
Consumers want a similar thing when doing business with you. Delightful employees are great. However, what it comes down to is, does your product or service deliver? Are you reliable? Do you make things right after service failures?
Your customers want friendly employees, but more than that, they want reliability and for you to stand by your word.
2. Quality and Value Is Better Than Cheap
If you’re not a dollar store, there’s an excellent chance your customers prefer quality and performance over super cheap. Don’t cut corners in processes, service, or performance. Focus on delivering excellence in every service and product. This is how you grow through repeat business and word of mouth. Shabby quality is the quickest way to run your company out of business.
The best formula for exceptional customer interactions is friendly staff + quality and value. We’d all appreciate a stunningly beautiful partner who is also fiercely loyal. That’s the goal, too, for your customer experience.