Companies like Disney, Apple and Nordstrom have built such loyalty that their customers don't mind if they're more expensive than the competition, Denise Thompson, consultant and managing partner of the DiJulius Group, said.
Speaking at a Mayfield Area Chamber of Commerce lunch on Thursday, Thompson said her customer experience consulting company studied what made those companies so successful.
She said the focus on customer service is such that price becomes immaterial. "It means that customers think your price is an incredible value," she said.
Thompson said she started out working with and said the key was to know that the business was selling confidence by ensuring that a visitor's experience is "the best decision our clients make all day."
"It we were just selling haircuts, we'd probably be out of business years ago," she said.
Thompson said companies instill customer service with reminders such as Starbucks adding "We create important moments in our customer's day" on the inside of aprons. Inside the caps of Domino's workers reads "Creates smiles by making lives easier."
"World-class companies hire for service aptitude," she said.
That can be difficult with a new generation of workers that don't have the personal interaction as their counterparts years ago. Teleconferences and webinars have replaced personal contact.
"I have a bank account with a bank where I've never met anyone," Thompson said.
She said it's popular to break up through a text mesage. "If someone would break up in a text, how is she going to treat your best client?"
When hiring, she advised that eye contact, engagement and enthusiasm are more important that technical skills. Hiring workers with those qualities will help create brand evangelists among customers, she said.
Thompson said little things can make a difference, like having different colored aprons for salon customers so employees can tell if a customer's new or a regular. Other businesses might have mugs, menus or dry cleaning bags of different colors.
"It's not because you want to treat one better than the other, you want to treat them differently," she said. For example, you would want to let a new customer know all the services that are available.
Thompson said good customer service means paying attention so you can take a personal approach.
"People don't just get an updo on a Friday night for no reason," she said.