Construct your customer experience

In our last column, we introduced the First Pillar of Business Success and posed the question, if most customers have a variety of options to fill their need for your product or service, why should they choose your business over every other alternative?

The answer was when there are many options available to customers, your product or service merely gets you into the competition. It is not what makes your customer choose your business over all others. The tipping point that causes a customer to choose you over all other alternatives is the experience of buying that product or service from your business.

In today’s column, I will share two steps you can take to maximize each customer’s experience so you can win new and turn existing customers into your biggest fans.

One, you must develop a live-to-serve mind set. This step forms the foundation on which the second step is built. Embrace the fact that long-term business success is based on two key principles. The first is what I call the karma of giving. When someone freely chooses to patronize your business, an intangible exchange of life-enriching value occurs. They chose you because you, in some way, made their life better than it was before.

Second, is the Golden Rule of business, which simply states, “treat others as you would absolutely love to be treated yourself.”

The heart of any business is relationships – friendships nurtured and cultivated by the way you treat your customers and community.

Mediocre businesses get customers. Great businesses create long-lasting relationships. When you make the karma of giving and the Golden Rule of business your business’s core values, you have developed live-to-serve thinking.

Step two is to take the positive point challenge.

Creating a positive customer experience is not a random event. It involves the intentional crafting of every interaction you and your business have with the public and your customers.

The positive point challenge is a simple test that will help maximize your customer’s experience and is loosely based on the subtle psychology of how positive and negative impressions work to define an overall experience. In short, unpleasant and impersonal interactions are far more powerful than those that are pleasant and personal. Each negative impression generally requires at least three positive impressions to get you back to zero.

Let’s take a walk in your customer’s shoes.

If you have an office or retail space, start outside and pretend you are a potential customer. Is parking easy and convenient? Then give your business 1 point. If not, subtract 3 points.

Is the area around your business clean, pleasant, and decorated in a manner that positively reinforces your business image? If yes, give yourself 1 point. If not, subtract 3.

Now, walk to the into your retail space. Does it take less than one minute? Yes = 1, No = -3.

As you enter do you encounter a meaningful and pleasant greeting? Yes = 1, No = -3.

If the phone rings, does it ring more than twice before being answered? Yes = 1, No = -3.

Is the person who answered the phone happy and enthusiastic? If the caller is put on hold is it for less than 30 seconds?

Apply this point system to each and every interaction your business has with customers and community. If your score is negative, you’re in trouble and need to make some serious changes. If you’re merely breaking even, you have work to do. If, however, your score is 10 or higher, congratulations! Now your challenge is to create and maintain systems that will keep it there.

— Brett Hersh is the owner of Growth Strategies, LLC. If you would like to make an appointment to discuss your business, he can be reached at (304) 267-2594 or

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