Lessons from Sorbet’s founders on getting customers to come back for more… and more… and more.
When Ian Fuhr and Rudi Rudolph launched Sorbet in 2004, they wanted to open a beauty chain with a difference.
They wanted to create a brand that was synonymous with excellent treatments, outstanding service and top-class products.
The phenomenal growth that the brand has enjoyed over the past ten years is testament to how well this strategy has worked. At the heart of the business strategies that Fuhr has implemented is an unwavering focus on the guest.
Here are his seven tips to implementing a winning customer satisfaction strategy.
- Instil a customer-centric ethic at the heart of the brand. View your customers as guests and refer to them accordingly – even through internal correspondence and discussions. A guest is always welcome, always right, and the very best care must be taken of anyone who walks through the doors. Constant training and repetition should drive home this point within each store.
- Always go the extra mile. In Sorbet’s case, if a customer isn’t happy with a treatment, they don’t pay for it, no argument. While at face value there might be a danger of customers complaining just to get free treatments, the opposite is actually true: Knowing that they’ll be taken care of garners fierce loyalty for the brand – and of course it ensures that therapists are always focused on offering the best service.
- Record all customer complaints. If there is a customer complaint, make sure it’s recorded and actioned on. Ignored complaints breed dissatisfied customers, but if a problem is properly addressed, you can turn an unhappy customer into a real fan of the brand. Understand that people hate being ignored far more than whatever upset them in the first place.
- Understand that mistakes happen. You don’t ever want to give customers poor service, but mistakes do happen. Don’t create an environment where your team quakes in fear if something goes wrong. Handle the situation with the customer, and then proactively deal with the mistake with your team. Make sure everyone understands why it happened, why it can never happen again, and what needs to be put in place to avoid similar situations.
- Understand that the details matter. Sorbet offers free treatments and birthday specials, covered by head office. Therapists receive the same commission as they would if the treatment was paid for. This keeps customers and therapists happy. Gift cards have no expiry date either.
- Create a family within the work place. If your employees are happy to come to work each day, they’ll naturally be more pleasant to customers. Put energy into motivating your team and helping them believe in the brand. Excite them and reward them. At the end of the day, you’re only as good as the experience customers have when they walk through your door.
- Put employee relations first. Employees aren’t the by-product of the business, they are the business. Keep everyone engaged and motivated. Be transparent and proactively handle any issues that might crop up. Turning a blind eye won’t make problems go away; it will just breed discontent.
Reference: Standard Bank BizConnect – http://bizconnect.standardbank.co.za/.