Three Golden Rules to a Memorable Customer Experience

We build RelationshipsBy Anastasia and Michael Tsouroupakis

When we decided to open our own family run storage facility a little over two years ago, we knew we were going up against some big competition. Our industry like most is dominated by big chain companies and our very survival hinged on our ability to stand out from our competitors. While we didn’t have the same advertising budget as these bigger facilities, we chose a more cost effective path. We chose to offer our customers a memorable customer experience which set us apart from everyone else. We have spent a lot of time developing and testing what we call our Three Golden Rules for a Memorable Customer Experience, this set of rules has helped us make it through our critical first year of business.

 

Golden Rule #1:   Speak to your Customers in their Language

No, we don’t mean speaking to them in English, French or their mother tongue, we mean to speak to them in plain speak, leave out all the technical jargon as customers find it overwhelming, and you will find it difficult to create any kind of rapport. Furthermore, we believe every customer is an individual and as such prepared scripts are also a bad idea.

Golden Rule #2:  Make a Connection:

We try to relate to our customers on a personal level.  Anyone that walks through our doors is a person just like us, and we make sure to treat them as such.  We endeavour to make meaningful connections with our clients, we will go out of our way to say hello; ask how the family is doing; inquire about their recent vacation; heck we even remember how many sugars they take in their complimentary coffee.  Our clients are real people to us and not a walking dollar sign.

Golden Rule #3: The Follow Up

      Always, always, always follow up with your customer. The transaction NEVER ends with the sale of a unit, quite the contrary it marks the beginning of the relationship. We follow up on how their move went, and we always send a small handwritten thank you note in the mail.  The follow up leaves the door open to for the client to approach us with any questions or concerns, and will provide us with feedback on what was good about their experience  and what was not so great or needs a little work.  Feedback is critical in growing a strong, sound business.

We begin each day with the same question “How can we make our customer’s experience today the most memorable they have ever had?” and the answer is the same, by practising our Three Golden Rules to a Memorable Customer Experience!

http://www.carnforthselfstorage.ca

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CHOOSING THE LOWEST PRICE MAY COST YOU MORE

     The benefits of patronizing smaller businesses.

      In light of Target’s failed foray into our Canadian market, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of all the reasons you should chose to patronize small and family owned and operated businesses over the big box chain stores.

When you ask someone why they choose to shop at a big box chain store rather than their neighborhood small and family owned operated facilities, their answer is singular; Price. In the retail sector it is generally understood that bigger stores offer the lowest price because they can secure a ridiculous deal from the vendor allowing them to undersell their competition. This is no longer the case, most small businesses have come to realize that they need to stay competitive in order to survive, and everyone now goes above and beyond to offer you the best bang for your buck.  However, if you are only basing your decision on price your are in essence short changing yourself and your community.  Sound extreme?  Not if you really stop and think about it.  Most big box chain stores in the name of low pricing overlook, customer care and product diversity, and in your quest for the lowest price you are sacrificing being treated as an individual.  We who own and operate our own businesses remember your name when you walk through our doors, we remember the little things about you; how many kids you have, where you mentioned you wanted to take your next family vacation, and we even remember how you take your complimentary coffee. Why? Because we identify and relate to you on a personal level, to us you are not a number contributing to the bottom line.    Each one of your concerns is urgent to us, and when you seek resolution you are speaking to the owner rather than invoking a customer service phone tree trying to reach someone in another time zone who has the authority to resolve your problem.  Furthermore,   big chain stores answer to only one higher power; their shareholders, and any decisions resulting in your satisfaction are incidental.  Small and family owned and operated businesses answer to YOU and ONLY YOU because without YOU there is no US.

Finally, small and family owned and operated businesses have a vested interest in your community and your neighborhood. We participate in the communities we are located in by providing employment, by donating time and resources to local community centers, schools and charities. Scales of Customer Service

So the next time you are deciding whether to patronize a big box chain store or  the small and family owned and operated business remember,  your decision will not only impact your wallet but the community in which you and your family live.

How Can Your Marriage Survive Working Together?

Marriage is hard, and with time some things get easier while other things get harder. A huge stress on a marriage is when the husband and wife work together. In our case we own and operate our own storage facility in Toronto and, when we decided to start our own business we were given a lot of advice on how to preserve our marriage as our business prospered.

The first and most frequently offered piece of advice was how critical it was to separate home and work.  We find this hard to do, and unless you own your own business you won’t understand how this is not possible. Couples who own and operate their own business will understand what I mean when I say that your business becomes your third or fourth child (depending on how many kids you have to begin with), and like any of your other children they require your attention to grow and flourish. It’s hard not to discuss the business at home, at the dinner table, or while sitting around watching TV. In our case this is when we do our best brainstorming and problem solving furthermore, our kids are invited to join in, it makes them feel included and shows them their opinions are being heard and have value.

The second most frequently offered piece of advice was; make sure you and your spouse have different and distinct roles within the business.  We find this to be the key to a happy work life and a happy home life. In our case, I am Head of Marketing and Advertising, Storage and Customer Relations Specialist, and Director of Business Development; my husband is our Director of Operations, our Chief Financial Officer and Storage and Customer Relations Specialist.  It’s ok if some of these jobs overlap a bit, both my husband and myself feel the need to connect with our customers, as part of the customer experience offered at Carnforth Self Storage.  (See our Jan 27th blog 5 Ways to Create a Customer Experience)

The third most frequently offered piece of advice was always be respectful of one another.  I found this one odd because if there is no mutual respect for one another, there is no marriage never mind a viable business partnership.

Many people told us working together would either make or break our marriage, thankfully so far so good, but I think it’s mostly because we began our marriage with a mutual respect and admiration for each other which in turn, helped to lay the foundation for an excellent business partnership.

http://www.carnforthselfstorage.ca

Business Couple