How You Can Deliver VIP Customer Service Without Raising Prices

Strategies targeted at improving the customer experience don’t have to equate to higher expenses

How You Can Deliver VIP Customer Service Without Raising Prices

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill

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As business owners, we often associate an improvement in customer experience with an increase in cost.

We think of airline tickets and the cost to upgrade from coach to first-class. We think of the costs and tips associated with valet parking and room service. We think of the price we pay for the convenience of home delivery food services. “Sure,” we think, “it’s easy to offer VIP-level service if you charge VIP prices.”

But does improved customer service always cost the business owner? Do you really have to increase your prices if you’re going to give your customers a better experience? 

We’d argue no. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can provide better service and a better customer experience, without it costing anything extra.

#1 Be kind and courteous to customers.

At some point in time — whether at the very beginning of the relationship or somewhere down the line — every customer is going to have to interact with your business. And the experience they have can be first-class, adequate, or sub-par — all will cost the same amount to deliver. 

Look at Chick-fil-A. 

When you thank them for the tender nugs and extra Polynesian sauce they threw in the bag, they could say “Yup,” “You got it,” or even “You’re welcome.” But they don’t. They say “My pleasure.” It’s just a simple change in phrasing that changes the customer experience for the better.

In other words: Simply being kind, courteous, and considerate can make your customers feel like they’re getting the VIP treatment. And you know what? It doesn’t cost the business a thing.

#2 Be consistent.

Not all surprises are good. Just look at 2020. 

Truth is, sometimes we just want to get what we expect with no surprises. And that’s especially true for the customer experience. Being consistent in how you treat your customers and how you deliver service is an easy way to improve the customer experience and your customer’s perception of your service. 

Take Disney, for example. 

It doesn’t matter who you interact with or when you go to Disney, you know it’s going to be magical. You know you’ll get a photo op with Mickey. You know you’ll have a memorable experience. Why? Because Disney’s consistent. If it weren’t, it never would have earned the reputation that it has. 

And while Disney does charge VIP prices for the Disney experience, consistency doesn’t have to cost your business anything. All it requires is that you systemize your service and that your employees know — without a shadow of a doubt — what the customer experience should look like. 

From there, it’s just a matter of following processes and aligning all actions and words with the company’s core values. And honestly, that’s something that just needs to happen anyway.

#3 Do your work with integrity and do things right the first time.

It happens every time the seasons change: We organize our closets. And for the first week or so, things look great, right? We hang what needs to be hanged up, sticking with our system. We fold and stack every shirt neatly.

But then a couple of weeks later, we start slacking. We toss a rumpled shirt onto the shelf thinking, “I’ll fold it in the morning.” And then we do the same with another shirt the next day. And another the next.

Next thing we know, our closet looks like the clearance bins at the mall after Black Friday. What the heck happened? We let our integrity slip. We stopped prioritizing doing things right the first time. We got lazy.

It may seem like a trivial thing when we’re talking about closet organization. But maintaining integrity and doing things right the first time can have a major impact on how your customer perceives their experience with your company. If they don’t have to call you to come back and fix something that was missed or done wrong, they’ll feel like they got the quality service they deserved. If there’s no friction and no added work on their part, they’ll feel like VIPs.

And here’s the thing: Doing your work with integrity and a commitment to getting it right the first time doesn’t cost you a thing.

#4 Empower your employees and give them permission to make decisions.

Have you ever been on the phone with someone who clearly has no power to help? We have. It’s the worst. You’ve taken time out of your day, hoping to resolve a problem. But the person you’ve reached out to is “really sorry, but” they can’t help.

Don’t put your customers in the same position. Don’t force your employees to feel the powerlessness that comes with telling a customer, “I’m really sorry, but …”

Instead, give them the power and authority to help. The truth is that not all decisions need approval from the top. Let your employees know when they can make customer-centric decisions without approval. Let them know how important it is to you that every customer feels heard and has their problems solved. Give them some general guidelines and then let them go. It typically won’t cost you, but it’ll vastly improve the customer experience. 

You Can’t Afford Bad Customer Service

So you see, it is possible to improve the customer experience without raising prices. But honestly, even if some customer service improvements do cost you more money, isn’t it worth it when you consider the cost of a bad customer experience? 

At the end of the day, customer service is the key determining factor in how much profit you’ll make, how loyal your customers will be, how your business will be perceived by the public, and ultimately, how long your company will be around. It’s not that you can’t afford better customer service. It’s that you can’t afford bad customer service.

Take a look at your customer experience and figure out how you can make little (and big) improvements. Consider ways in which a simple tweak can greatly alter your customers’ perceptions of the service you provide. Treating your customers like VIPs doesn’t have to come with a VIP price. Sometimes it’s free, and the returns are always big. 

About the Authors

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the co-founders of Spark Marketer, a Nashville, Tennessee-based digital marketing company that works primarily with service businesses. They're also co-creators of the award-winning app Closing Commander, which helps contractors close more estimates effortlessly, and co-authors of the book, Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love. Both regularly speak at service industry trade shows and conferences across the nation. Visit www.sparkmarketer.comwww.about.closingcommander.comwww.facebook.com/sparkmarketer, or www.facebook.com/closingcommander.



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