Several months ago, I was speaking in Portland, Maine. I flew in the evening before the event, would do the presentation in the morning and be flying back by the afternoon. So I only had one night in Portland. And if you are in Maine for only one night, there is only one thing you want for dinner. Lobster. So what would you ask the front desk agent for your only dinner in Portland, Maine? Just like you, I asked “Where is the best place for lobster?” Not “Where is the second or third best place?” Not “Give me any old place.” “Where is the best place?”
I never met that agent before and most likely will never meet her again, but I will take her recommendation over any of the ads in the local dining guide. Or I’ll use Yelp, UrbanSpoon or OpenTable and check out which restaurant has the highest ratings. Why? We trust their opinion over advertising. Word of mouth advertising, whether in person or on-line, will trump print, TV or radio ads every time.
Some may make a buying decision based on price. They want something that is the least expensive. But if price is not the driver, then people want to buy the best. If you saw a sign on a new salon that read “The cheapest hair coloring in town” would you go in? No, because you equate price with quality. But even in the case of a lobster dinner in Maine, it is not about the product. Maine lobster is great lobster but many restaurants offer it in Maine. Even in your business, your competitors, if they really wanted to, could replicate or create a similar product. So if it not about the product, then it is all about service. Wolfgang Puck, the celebrity chef says “If I go to a restaurant and the food is okay, but the service is great, then I’ll go back. If the food is great but the people aren’t, I won’t go back – and I’m in the cooking profession.”
So how do you create a service experience that drives someone to give you a great testimonial or rave review? Your service simply must be the best for each customer. Remember, nobody raves about average. So if your service is not the best in the minds of your past customers, you don’t even get mentioned. Ultimately if you are not the best, if you’re not Number One, you lose. You may survive, but you won’t be building market share.