When you think of a “tramp” you probably think of one of two things, either the animated movie or a “lady of the night”. Both create experiences; albeit, very different experiences. My recent experience with a “tramp on a lamp” turned me into a very loyal customer.
Who doesn’t love a great experience? Great experiences create great memories. Great memories elicit great feelings. And great feelings create desire to repeat the experience. Think about this in terms of your business. Are you creating an experience for your customers that make them come back for more? More importantly, are you consistent so that you continue to meet and exceed their expectations? That’s where the real challenge comes in.
Every December my husband and I go on vacation for 10 days. We have an awesome “dog nanny” who comes to our house to take care of our two dogs. I hate leaving them but I know she’ll take care of them. She loves them like they’re her own. She watches movies with them and spends time with them besides just feeding and walking them. Every now and then she would text or email me an update on how they’re doing, knowing I’m a concerned mommy.
This year dog nanny Kim stepped up her game and created an “experience”. Each day she brought some sort of toy, took pictures of them with each toy day, posted the pictures on Facebook and added photo captions like “Yep…you guessed it….they [pet nanny service] have sent the skanky Tramp on the Lamp!!!!” or “Holy Moly!!!! If I didn’t see if it with my own eyes, I would not believe it!!! Lola has attacked today’s guardian…The Doll In The Hall!” On the final day Kim brought human toys (students and performers from my theater) to pose as “Fools on Stools”. Each day escalated. This experience didn’t only make me laugh hard every day. It created an anticipation of wondering what she would do next. It made me want more. More importantly I was just so comforted in knowing that my “fur children” were being spoiled and cared for.
Having an entertainment background has taught me a lot about creating an experience that creates repeat business. My biggest thrill is when a vacationing child raves about one of our improv comedy shows and says to his parents “This was the best part of our vacation. Can we come back next year?” What do we do as a company to elicit that response, you wonder? We make our shows about the as it’s all about them. Everyone likes feeling special and important. As a result of that we continue to entertain repeat guests every summer; they make their visit a vacation tradition and we become part of their family.
One of my favorite customers at our theater is a high school from West Virginia who hired us to do a custom show for their cheerleader team. The team was in town competing in a cheer competition. The show was amazingly fun for us as a company. We prepared ahead of time, learning about the team, finding out what awards they won that day and used that information to create a custom experience. The team was fun, excited and high energy. Their energy was infectious, which brought out the best in us. When they called the next year to re-book us I was thrilled. And then they re-booked us the year after that.
And then they did NOT book us the year after that. I was so disappointed. Where did we fail to exceed their expectations? Each year we strived just a little harder to exceed their expectations. That last year I could feel the plateau. We weren’t all that unique to them anymore. When I reached out to find out why they weren’t coming for a fourth year, the response was “The parents want to try something new.” I graciously said I understood and to enjoy their new choice of entertainment.
And then, all of a sudden they re-booked us for this year!!! Maybe they just needed to experience something different to appreciate our value. While I’m grateful and thrilled for their return, I still want to know what we could have done differently to not lose them at all. Or is it possible that their expectations grew higher?
In the coaching side of our business we aspire to maintain long term relationships with our clients by providing the best possible service and unique experiences that make them feel special and that differentiates us from our competitors. We are hands on with our clients and always adapting to their needs versus following the same exact format in our training and coaching programs. We try to keep it fun, yet relevant. For example, at a recent mastermind we went for manicures and pedicures to experience how the staff managed to upsell their services.
Some things to think about in your own business …
- What can you do to create an experience of a lifetime for your clients?
- Are you thinking about what’s in it for them?
- What are you doing to motivate clients to keep coming back for more?
- Are you creating custom and unique experiences that make them feel special?
- What’s your next “tramp on a lamp” opportunity?
- Do you have a plan for exceeding expectations?
By Gina Trimarco, Chief Results Officer