Module 3: Secrets 6-10
GREG: Welcome back to Part Three in Uncle Frank’s 21 Secrets of Creating a Money-Making Customer Experience. Today we’re speaking with Tracy Myers. He’s a a 7 time best selling author, an award-winning small business marketing and branding solutions specialist and also the owner of Frank Myers Auto Maxx.
In the first part of this course we talked about why it is so important to be different and deliver a winning customer experience. In the second module we talked about the first five secrets, and here in module three we’re going to go through secrets six through ten.
Now, Tracy, the sixth secret is vitally important and it is to call customers by their names. First, what is the psychological impact of using customer’s names?
TRACY: Greg, this is an idea that I actually borrowed from the restaurant industry and I’ve used it in my dealership with great success. I made a reservation at a five-star restaurant with my wife and I and as I walked in they welcomed us by our name. I remember feeling like the king of the world.
Another time I remember is when my wife and I went to Nevis. They dropped us off at the bottom of the hill and they picked us up in a real nice, fancy golf cart. When we arrived at the front of the Four Seasons hotel, they welcomed us by our names and gave us cold mint towels.
Well, I didn’t implement the cold mint towels, but I thought to myself, man, that is the way to go. I implemented the importance of calling customers by their names in my dealership in more ways than one, and it made a major impact in the impression we create with all of our customers.
GREG: I think we can all see the importance of that and I love how you said you felt like you were the king of the world, but I think one of the biggest hurdles for that is getting your team members to remember the names of your customers and then implement them. What are some tips or strategies that you use to help your employees to utilize this very important strategy?
TRACY: The most visible way is when our guests call the store and make a VIP reservation with a member of our Extreme Satisfaction Team, and their name is posted on the VIP Reservation Board, and that just happens to be hanging right in the entrance. In fact, it’s the first thing they see when they walk through the front door.
We also announce the customer’s name over the PA system when they buy a car. We call it welcoming them to the Frank Myers family of customers.
Then last but not least we have a red carpet celebration when a new customer and their noncommissioned sales professional step on the red carpet, the hit the celebratory gong, and they have their picture made. We’ll video this and post it all over the Internet and of course their name is everywhere, and it works like a charm.
GREG: Those are some great strategies. I hope everyone that was listening was really paying attention because you ingrain this secret, really, into your culture, which I think is vitally important.
The seventh secret, now, is to welcome feedback. How do you deal with customer feedback in real-time and how do you know when to take action based on that feedback and to really make a change in your business?
TRACY: Since the Internet has made it possible for customers to post immediate feedback, both good and bad, a business owner must have the steps in place to manage their reputation, especially online. It’s important for me to personally deal with all customer feedback.
In all my businesses, I’m the one who monitors social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter for immediate feedback. I’ve also got alerts set up with Google and Yahoo to monitor things that are being said on review sites and blog posts.
As soon as I see feedback regarding our company, good or bad, I’ll respond. That’s going to be me personally; I’m going to do that. Regardless of the concern, I’ll address it with our team leaders, and if it was negative feedback, we’ll discuss how it could have been prevented.
Or, if it was positive, we’ll discuss how we can duplicate that experience for others. I know that lots of businesses shy away from negative feedback, but I welcome it. My dad always said, “To grow your business, don’t ask what’s right; ask what’s not.”
That’s what I want my customers and team members to do: Give me the facts. Don’t sugarcoat anything. I want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s the only way that I can be proactive the next time there’s an opportunity for improvement in my business.
GREG: That’s great, I think that’s really, really important. I love the proactive approach that you take there and I think a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs can really learn from that.
The eighth secret is one that I’m a big fan of and I know that you’re a big fan of too in your business: It’s to make it fun. What are some ways that you keep your business fun, while still putting that customers experience first?
TRACY: Greg, I feel that by promoting a fun work environment, it makes our team members happier people, and the end result of a happy team member is usually a happy customer. There are several ways that we involve our customer and our team members together in the fun, including the red carpet celebration we talked about a little earlier.
We also have the huge events such as our community appreciation picnic, and that’s where anyone and everyone’s invited, whether they bought a car here or not, whether they work here or not, including the families of our team members. This year we fed close to one thousand people at our community appreciation picnic and we had tons of fun and it was just an awesome day of celebration.
GREG: That’s great, I love that. Another great example of having fun, and you shared this in the book Pushing to the Front, is Apple and the Apple store experience. I know we talked a little bit about this in the intro, but can you share why what they do in their stores is so vital to their core business and how fun plays a role in that?
TRACY: Sure. Well, you know, one of the many things the Apple store does right is creating an electronic playground for their customers. You can walk by any Apple store of any time of the day and chances are that it’s going to be the most crowded store at the mall, and you know why? Because people are allowed to go in and have fun.
Life’s too short not to let your customers and let your employees have some fun. Most businesses are far too serious, in my opinion. From my experience, creating a fun environment for customers and employees actually increases productivity and decreases turnover, which in turn increases profitability.
GREG: That’s great, and you know, again, if you haven’t been to an Apple store and experienced that you really need to because you can really learn a lot of things just by walking into one of their retail stores.
Now, moving on to number nine, I think this is a big part of number seven, which is welcoming feedback and it kind of stacks on top of that, is to pay attention to detail.
In business we all know that things can get busy; as entrepreneurs, small business owners, our schedules are hectic, there’s a lot going on, and sometimes we only look at the big picture and the big numbers and we forget about these details.
How can we remember to stop, slow down, and pay attention, and what do think you need to put an emphasis on paying attention to and how do you make the effort to pay attention to these small details?
TRACY: I’m not so sure that you can remember to pay attention; it’s just something that you do. It’s part of our culture here at the dealership and all of our businesses.
I remember when I worked directly for my dad, he always told me that it was the small things that would bite me. He was hyperfocused on things like clean restrooms, cut grass, nice landscaping, and pressed clothes on the team members.
Of course, I was young and I didn’t have a clue why he was so focused on those things, but I understand now and agree with one of the guiding principles of Starbucks, which is everything matters. All of the little details in your business, from the environment to the background music they’re all crucial to the overall customer experience.
GREG: So crucial and so vital, and these are some just great tips to really help everyone listening. As we close out this third section, we’re going to go into secret number ten. I think this is one that gets people excited when they hear that this is one of the secrets to your success, and that’s to actually charge premium prices. What are you trying to get across with this tenth secret?
TRACY: If you look back to the three companies we’ve been discussing- Disney, Apple, and Starbucks- you’ll notice that none of them try to compete on best price. Instead, they’ve made it a point to be more expensive than their competition.
Once again, I’ll refer to some of my dad’s wisdom: he said, “Your customer will pay almost anything if you give them an experience to remember.” Now, keep in mind that your customer will pay more if the experience is awesome, but you also have to deliver a good product to go along with the awesome experience. But when the two join forces and become one, that’s when the magic happens, and you and your business can start commanding premium pricing.
GREG: I think that’s a really important thing that you just mentioned, and what I want to do is I want to help some business owners think about how they can change the way that they price and how they can roll this experience into their price. So, how do you go about changing the way that you price your products and services to move into that premium pricing model?
TRACY: Well, I recommend one of two things. Number one is to test a higher pricing. Now, this is what we do; we test everything from marketing to the products we sell to the prices that we charge.
Just for a week, switch pricing and see if the responses are more or less in comparison to what you normally get. If the responses are more, guess what you do? Raise the price again for one more week, and keep raising the price until you hit the ceiling and the responses drop.
Then you’ve actually, like I said, hit the ceiling and probably can’t charge any more. Number two, if number one won’t work for you, is to give options to your customer. We actually do this in our service department.
If you’re just not sure whether higher prices will be acceptable to your customers, just create two to three variants of your product and give them different options. A great example is my service department has four variations of an oil change that ranges from $9.97 for our budget oil change, up to $32.93. So, once you convert a customer, remember that you can always, always offer them an upgrade if they want to pay more and get more.
GREG: Those are some really great strategies and tips. I think they are some applicable strategies that businesses can start implementing into their business right away.
As we close out this third section, again I encourage everyone to be taking notes and seeing how you can relate these new principles and secrets into your own business.
In the next section we’re going to be going through secrets eleven through fifteen and further showing you how you can deliver an amazing customer experience. Thanks again for reading module three, and we will see you again in module four.
– To Be Continued. Stay Tuned For Part 4 Coming Soon.
– To Read Part 1 Of This Series, Click HERE.
– To Read Part 2 Of This Series, Click HERE.