Customer Loyalty and Chinese Food
Allow me to share a little anecdote about a friend of mine - for this story's sake, I'll call him Bill.
Bill works in midtown, and due to his extremely rigorous work schedule, he rarely has time to prepare his lunch prior to coming into work. Bill's favorite cuisine has always been Asian food - especially Chinese food. Luckily for Bill, there exist seven Chinese food restaurants within a 2-block radius of his office. Bill, or one of his assistants, could very easily walk downstairs and pick up his order; doing so would both save time and money (when you account for delivery charge and a tip).
However, the restaurant from which Bill chooses to order his Chinese food is located nine blocks away from his office. Furthermore, Bill's office location is at the absolute end of the vicinity to which this particular restaurant is willing to send a delivery person. As a result, Bill must wait longer than he'd like to wait for his food. In addition, because of the distance traveled, he must leave a generous tip for the delivery person. The food is better-than-average Chinese food, but it is certainly no more tasty or creative than the majority of Chinese food available in the city.
So, why does Bill insist on ordering from this particular restaurant?
Bill is extremely allergic to peanuts. On top of that, Bill's doctor informed him that he must lower his sodium intake. As you may have been able to guess, the explanation process of his dietary needs is both a difficult and lengthy one. However, Bill's favorite Chinese food restaurant was extremely accommodating when the restaurants closest to his office were not; all of the local restaurants seemed bothered and put-off by Bill's requests. Yet, a close friend of Bill's suggested a Chinese food restaurant to him - this restaurant is now the ONLY Chinese food that Bill will order.
The manager of "Bill's Chinese food restaurant" makes certain that the chefs use a wok in which no peanuts have touched when preparing Bill's food - she also ordered a special low-sodium soy sauce for him. Finally, when Bill calls, she is extremely cordial on the phone; she knows his order by heart and has his credit card on file. As you can imagine, this particular restaurant has diffused the stress that Bill once felt when he ordered food.
The moral of this story is that this Chinese food restaurant, through exceptional customer service, has made it very difficult for Bill to try the competition. When Bill receives coupons or new menus at his office, they always end up in the trash. This restaurant has developed a strong relationship will Bill and their reward is his loyalty.
Ask yourself, are you developing strong relationships with your customers, so that they will be loyal to you instead of trying your competition? What little things can you do to gain the loyalty of your customers?
Action Step: This week, pick one action you can implement into your routine customer service strategy that will lead to building customer loyalty.