Customer service is often overlooked in the mom and pop business, and my restaurant in New York was no exception. If I had read Never Lose A Customer Again while I owned the restaurant, I may have never. After reading the book, it was a huge AHA moment for me. I quickly began implementing Mr. Coleman’s strategies in our real estate education and property management business, and it has revolutionized our customer experience.
The problem with the mom and pop business, including my restaurant, is the inability to scale the business and implement systems. As Jake likes to say, it’s the I’ma mentality, ( I’ma do this, I’ma do that, I’ma do it all!!) when in reality, it is impossible for the business owner to grow his or her company and deliver a superior customer experience.
Never Lose A Customer Again delivers the ultimate framework for the business owner to create a unique customer experience for their own customers, and stopping business owners from hemorrhaging customers! How does Mr. Coleman achieve this monumental, yet crucial task? By diving into his eight phases of the customer life cycle.
In addition to outlining the customer life cycle, Mr. Coleman presents a step-by-step process for assessing the customer phase, presenting the various forms of communication in each phase (email, phone, present, etc.) and providing tools and techniques to enhance the customer experience. The truly exciting part of his book is that the techniques taught can be used in any business to enrich the customer service.
Let me outline and discuss each phase.
The customer is deciding if they want to engage in business with your company. If you can convey to them that you have the solution they are looking for, they will go ahead with the purchase.
In the property management business, if your leasing agent does not get out of their seat to greet the prospect or answer the telephone properly, then you may lose the sale even before it presents itself. In our business, our leasing agents follow a protocol on how to engage the customer and make sure to return any voicemails within the hour.
The customer admits that they have a problem, and believes that your company has the answer. This is the phase where the sale is made. Unfortunately, Mr. Coleman states that this is the phase where “customer focused initiatives” end. This is the point in the journey where you want to reaffirm your customer’s purchase and prolong the positive feelings from the purchase.
In our business, the customer needs to rent an apartment. Time to start presenting options to your prospect and letting them know why their next home should be with us.
Mr. Coleman refers to this phase as “buyer’s remorse”. Did I make the right purchase? Did I spend too much? Was there a better solution out there? These questions and more fill the customer’s mind, and if you don’t quickly “affirm” their decision to do business with you, then you will have to work extremely hard to get them back into those positive feelings.
The first “major post sale interaction” takes place in the Activate phase. It’s time to start delivering on the promises that were made during the Assess phase! The customer is excited to get started, and it behooves the business owner to get things started off on the right foot.
In the Acclimate phase, the customer learns how your company does business. We, as business owners, are very familiar with how we deliver our product or service. The customer may still be unfamiliar, and may need more guidance than you think. It is your job to onboard the customer properly and get them comfortable with your process, or else they may never turn into a loyal customer.
This is the phase where success is achieved and your customer gets the desired result. If you want the relationship between you and the customer to continue, you must hit this phase. Many customers never reach this phase, and if you reach this phase with your customer, celebrate this achievement together.
The customer “adopts” the business in this phase and is ecstatic to be a part of the company. This is where the customer begins to develop a long-term relationship with the business owner and develops loyalty to the brand. The business owner needs to make the customer feel as if they are a part of an exclusive community. If you can execute on this phase, you will have a customer for life.
I refer to this phase as the nirvana phase. The customer becomes a raving fan, and is sending you over referrals. It is your job to motivate the customer into becoming an “advocate” for your business. Time to work on your referral programs!
Now that you have an idea of the eight phases, you need to go out and buy the book to implement Mr. Coleman’s four-step process to help understand your customers and how you can deliver superior customer service. And the best part is that Joey offers action steps on how to implement his framework and how to get your employees bought into the system.
Our goal is to become the Chick-fil-a of customer service in the apartment investing space, and Joey’s book has given us the framework and the solution to deliver a superior customer experience.