Most successful businesses are built around top-notch service. There are a variety of factors that define what that looks and feels like. What’s most important is a customer’s first impression or their first experience with your company. It’s a big part of the equation when it comes to a customer coming back. 

Let’s do some homework, starting with a couple of questions. 

●What sells your business?

●What makes your business different?

●Why do customers choose your business?

●Do people know what you do? OK, I’m guessing it has something to do with the following.

●Quality

●Experience

●Price

●Trust

●Reputation

●Transparency

●Reliability

●Friendliness

●Knowledgeable/Helpful staff

●Cleanliness

●Relationship 

Put all of these qualities together and what do you get? You get a great experience, which is exactly what your clients want. When it comes to spending their hard earned money, they’re not looking for average. 

Hopefully, you checked most of these boxes. If you did, you're already a successful

business. Ultimately, these are qualities that legitimize your business and make a consumer feel good (or confident) about doing business with you.

Why is customer service so important? Because it’s a differentiator. While it’s what all customers want, it’s not what they get. If you can consistently provide this experience, you’ll develop a community of advocates to support your business, in a powerful way. It’s called the 4 R’s of the customer experience.

Remember, Recount, Refer and  Return

1. Let’s talk about Remember first. If a customer remembers your business, that means you’re leaving a lasting impression with them. 

What does that mean? For a restaurant, it’s quick, friendly, and accommodating service, along with cleanliness. If your food is average, that will be an afterthought. For a loan officer (or bank), the initial greeting phase is important, offering a coffee or water, and providing a no-pressure, educational experience is critical. In the retail environment, organization, good signage, knowledgeable staff, and a clean store leaves a lasting impression. 

2. These are the little things that make people want to Recount. For example, how easy is it for them to say “Let me tell you about this restaurant I ate at last night” or “Let me tell you about my financial adviser who is amazing because she always goes above and beyond.” Focus on providing a better experience and clients will Recount. 

3. If the customer is able to Recount, I can promise you, they will Refer your business or products to their colleagues, friends, and family. Many businesses rely on word of mouth or referrals for new business, and it works. Why? Because if you take care of them, they will take care of you.

4. What is the byproduct of 1, 2 and 3? It’s 4, as in Return. They will be a return customer. Even if that individual does not make their way back, those referrals will be just as good, if not better. 

These are the 4 R’s of the customer experience and they are all equally important to the recipe of success.

While it may seem elementary at first, it’s practicing the little things that the customers want. If you can provide that type of experience, you will have customer advocates. We call that social currency, which is like having money in the social-media bank.

If you already provide this experience, sprinkle it into your marketing efforts.

Highlight your 5-star reviews, ask customers for testimonials, focus on thought-leadership content such as educational blog posts or short videos.

Take pride in what you do and show an appreciation for your customers. Be vulnerable and show your authenticity through original content, no stock photos. 

Ultimately, if your prospective customers can see themselves dining at your restaurant, shopping at your store, or subscribing to your service, they are more inclined to do business with you. If your service and your content showcases these themes, you will continue to build success.

Chris Burns is director of business development with BConnected LLC