I have a few heroes. In an earlier editorial column, I spoke of two of them. Steve Jobs of Apple Computers is another. He once used the phrase “insanely great” as a way of describing his products and it became an anthem for his vision of Apple’s brand. Go to any Apple store and look at the people crowding around, staring at the products, touching them, playing with computers, phones and iPods. You won’t find that kind of zealous activity in the computer section at Best Buy…unless they are looking at the Apple computers.
For small services businesses like travel consulting, word-of-mouth marketing is a very important component of your marketing plan. At the core of every effective word-of-mouth marketing program is not just good, but truly great service. Not the service that your clients expect – the service that they don’t. Taking the midnight call, a special greeting on returning home, a private guide at the destination, a ride to the airport. The things that make clients claim ownership of you as you become “their” travel agent rather than “a” travel agent.
Are these things easy to do? No. Are they inexpensive? No. These are services that only an agent who charges fees can afford to consistently provide. But these are also the same services that justify a strong service fee. Apples cost more than PCs. Apple customers happily pay the premium.
Strong, outstanding customer service will set you apart from the crowd. Clients will talk to others about their experiences on their travels, all of which begins with a visit to you. If you are the source of that kind of experience, you will be sought out by others looking to separate themselves from the crowd. Like attracts like.
Within the realm of your own practice, you can enhance the service you provide even if your client is not a luxury client. You can make the extra phone call, provide the additional flourish, do something unexpected. Give it a try. You might discover that your company’s profile is a bit higher for the effort.
Tomorrow: Great Follow-up
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