Recession Survival 101 (part Deux)

Happy New Year All !

Hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are ready to kick off 2011 with energy, optimism, and some resolutions that will last beyond January 6th.

OK.  Back to business.  What are you doing to survive in 2011?  I covered what seemed to me as the standard recession survival  steps. Every must have agreed, no one said otherwise based on the lack of responses to part one of this post. So, I stated I would share my plan and here it is, no charge, for friends and family only.  Drum roll please…

Customer Service.

No Duh, stop throwing the tomatoes, no, I wasn’t dropped on my head as a child. I’m sure that was a disappointing reveal, wasn’t it?

I’ll go back to an analogy I’ve used recently in earlier rants, the car industry, to explain this. I’ll fast forward from the Model T to present day. For the most part car dealerships are not trying to survive on selling cars. Sure, they need to sell them and make some money doing it, but the real meat and potatoes for them is their service department. Luxury car companies pamper the hell out of their clients when they come in for service. Compare a trip to the Lexus dealership versus Joe’s Garage around the corner. Don’t get me wrong, Joe is a nice guy. More often than not, he gets the vehicle  back on the road, but I wouldn’t drink the coffee in the waiting room. He isn’t giving me a courtesy ride to work and I bet you’ll have grease on your clothes if you lean on the counter. At the Lexus place I get a nice cappuccino, a friendly ride to wherever, a bright, clean waiting area…you get my point.

So how does this translate for the AV biz? Simple, people want the same treatment at home. We need to provide a superior experience for our clients.  The stuff we sell changes so fast that it all requires software updates.  You need to be ready to service the systems when they lose their connection. Look how often people buy and upgrade their phones. Every few years.  The product they want for their home is becoming the same thing. That stuff needs to be replaced for the latest and greatest and the shelf life has been shortened on the product we sell.  By providing a superior experience for them, they’ll be happy to call you to come in and make these upgrades and to do system revision updates. Most have neither the patience or the time to do them on their own, despite the fact that 75% of them could probably figure out how to download it themselves.  Be the service department. Make it easy and comfortable.

You know you’re OK with paying more when you’re confident the problem gets fixed correctly the first time and if there should be an issue with the service,  they trip over themselves and goto to ridiculous lengths to remedy the problem. Hint, Hint … our clients will do the same for their Home Technology needs.  Charge more…but get it right 99.9% of the time and makes sure they are beyond satisfied with you.

That’s the plan. Plain and simple. I challenge you to stop at lunch time today and think about what you’ve done for the first half of the day and figure out what you could have done to go three extra steps to make whatever you were working on better.  Would the extra step have made someone have a WOW reaction to what you did?  Would it take all three extra steps to get there? Do that no matter if your tasks were for clients, your boss or your coworkers.  Bring some of that luxury service experience into your company. Institute that attitude and commit your staff to the same and you’ll have a winning solution not only to survive , but thrive in this economy.

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2 Responses to Recession Survival 101 (part Deux)

  1. John Kelsey says:

    Making the customer experience a positive and memorable one is so critical these days. We also find that we spend a great deal of time educating and explaining why certain things and services have value in the long run, even if they may cost more up front.

  2. avo2hap says:

    Absolutely. It is critical that the time is taken on the front end to educate and set the expectations on the how and whys. Otherwise there are too many surprises and often buyers remorse. Those concerns of costs can be dealt with early on and the process becomes smoother for all.

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