We all know that customer satisfaction is one very important slice of the pie when it comes to business success and growth. Continue making the customer happy over and over, and you’ll keep the customer for life. This week, I learned how effective this simple concept can really be. It’s a lesson every business needs to learn. This week, I was reminded how Lexus, the company and the dealership really goes above and beyond with their customers. This is important, because it builds customer loyalty, and in today's marketplace, that is one of the keys to success for any company.
A few months ago I bought another Lexus. I love these cars because they are not only top of the line automobiles, but beyond that, the Lexus dealership always makes me feel special...they always put the relationship first. This is smart, because it keeps the customer happy, and that keeps them coming back again and again.
This story begins with a simple ding in the paint. Since I purchased the Lexus ding repair service after buying the car, I thought this was the first opportunity to test it out. Visiting the Nalley Lexus dealership in Roswell, Georgia and discussing it with them, they gave me the name and number of their repair facility. They said to just call them and it would be taken care of. Sounds great. However, when I called this other company, they asked me questions and finally said they could not help me. They did not offer me any advice and just let me leave - confused and unsatisfied.
I was angry. Angry at the ding shop. Angry at Lexus. Angry at the dealership. Just plain angry. Especially since I paid for this service. So I went back to the dealership, told them the story, and asked what I should do about the ding. That’s when Jeff and Mo immediately jumped into action and quickly took care of me. They fixed the ding and touched up the paint. They kept me updated at every step. Bottom line, after a few hours, my car is like new again. These two people took great care of me. And that is why I believe the Lexus experience is something every company should follow.
The Most Important Part of This Story
This response to my issue is why I am a long time loyal customer of Lexus and of Nalley Lexus in Roswell in particular. They treat me like family and take good care of me. This is so unusual in todays business world, yet it's exactly how Lexus has been built over time. This is the way every business should treat every customer. Even when something goes wrong, if the company jumps to your rescue, fixes the problem and leaves you happy and satisfied, everyone wins. That’s the takeaway lesson from this Lexus story that every business should learn.
Other Great Companies
There are many companies, large and small, that put in great effort and take great care of the customer. Companies like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) , Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Sonesta Hilton Head Island Resort, L.L. Bean, Chik-Fil-A, Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) , American Express (AXP) and many others.
Unfortunately, there are also plenty of companies that don’t take care of the customer. Like you, I too have experienced many of them as well. I have written about so many good and bad companies over the years. Bottom line, long-term, each company rises or falls based on the way they serve the customer. Period.
Put the Customer First for Long-Term Success
So what makes these companies so special? Is it the company? Is it the attitude of the people who work there? Or is it both? The secret sauce is a blend of a company and workers who want to take great care of the customer. Customers don’t expect companies to be infallible. No one is. However, customers cut some companies slack and not others. What’s the difference? Relationship is key. Companies that put customers first will win. The thing is, if a company handles a customer the right way, they have a customer for life...mistakes and all. However, if they don’t take good care of the customer, they won’t, and the company loses in the long term.
Ritz-Carlton says it well: We are ladies and gentleman, serving ladies and gentleman. To me, that says it all.
Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.
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