By Cassandra @ Setmore
Writer, editor and scheduling product expert at Setmore Appointments.
In the field of physics, the First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed in an isolated system. In other words, energy you put into something equals energy you get out of it, and customer experiences behave much the same. If you’re doing your due diligence to greet and treat customers on the front end of their appointments, and delivering a stellar service on top of that, then they’ll be charged with positive vibes at the very end of the appointment. The question is: what are you, the service provider, going to do with this energy? If you let them walk out the door with a “so long, see you next time,” then you’re squandering a huge opportunity.
The Conservation of Customer Energy: Input = Output. (Source)
Spend your customer’s energy
Before your customers walk out the door and formally end their appointment, this is the perfect time to ask them for something. Your main goal should be to make use of all that goodwill that’s been stockpiled throughout the service phase. What’s something that customers can give for free, yet it delivers immeasurable value to your business? Don’t overthink it, the answer is right under your nose:
- Reviews give you more social influence and referrals, helping you generate new business. You may have to direct customers to a website to post a review, or collect it on paper and manually transfer written words to your website later on.
- Feedback gives your staff immediate insight into what worked and what didn’t for the appointment. Collecting this in writing is great for disseminating information among all the staff, but at the very least, verbal feedback delivered on the spot will inform the staff members who were directly involved with the service.
- Pre-bookings for the next appointment help ensure repeat business and consistent cashflow. Don’t wait to give a follow-up call to schedule the next appointment; a “next session” should be built into every customer’s appointment plan.
Train your staff
Of course, none of this matters if your team doesn’t ask for reviews, feedback, or pre-bookings in the first place. With most venues I frequent, neither the service provider nor the receptionist will ask for a review, and only occasionally will they offer to pre-book my next appointment. Is your experience the same when you go to your appointments? What about your customers – are your staff asking for reviews or feedback at the end of every appointment? Have they been instructed how to do this?
Asking for reviews in person yields 8x more reviews than asking by email. (Source)
Let your staff know that asking for a review and a pre-booking is part of their job. Create an environment that encourages and rewards them to do this habitually. Incentives are a great tool to use in this regard. Say for instance you offer a small cash bonus of $10 for each positive review that mentions the team member’s name. Would you say a positive review is worth $10 to your business, if it leads to one new appointment that you wouldn’t otherwise have?
Team members can also mention this at the end of the appointment, something along the lines of, “…and if you had a good experience and post a review online that mentions my name, I’ll get a ten dollar bonus.” At first this might seem a little odd, but it’s fair game in the context of experiences where customers might not have the opportunity to tip your team members for a job well done. Examples include gardening, landscaping, and home repair. From the customer’s end, it’s not about the money, it’s simply a matter of giving thanks.
Offer your customers incentives, too
When you’re thinking about the totality of the customer experience, and specifically the end-game phase of an appointment, your main goal is to create a process that manages itself. The idea behind setting up incentives for customers, such as offering a 10% discount to pre-book their next service, is to trigger a sense of urgency while customer motivation is at its highest. The timing is key because your team members can be far more persuasive than an email sent two days after the fact – assuming the customer even opens your email.
Raffles are another great way to incentivize action, but only use email if you have to. (Source)
Just keep in mind that while it’s generally okay to ask for reviews, it’s not okay to compel customers to write only positive reviews. Don’t shy away from bad reviews; every business has at least one or two negative reviews and each one is an opportunity to showcase your customer service skills. A genuine response that addresses customer concerns head-on will telegraph to other potential customers that your business gives a damn, is willing to make right on potential wrongs, and is savvy enough to pay attention to what’s being said about them online.
Make it as easy as possible for the customer
Not to complicate matters, but you should give some thought as to where you want customers to post their reviews. Google? Yelp? TripAdvisor? Your own website? As you implement your strategy, it may be worthwhile to direct efforts down a single channel, typically for one calendar quarter at a time. Direct customers towards Google in the fall, Yelp in the winter, and so on. If you’re verbally prompting customers to post a review, it’ll be important to coach your team about which online presence your business wants to target for those reviews on a rotating basis.
This is a great start – be sure your card focuses on one site and provides a direct URL. (Source)
Once you know which website you’re targeting, put it down in writing for your customers to see! We’re huge advocates for low-cost, low-tech solutions like punchcards and business cards. You can use these cards to not only ask for a review, but direct customers to the review site of your choice. If you’re collecting reviews for your own website, ask customers to write two or three lines on the spot – do it while you’re ringing them up and collect the card before they leave. The less effort you ask of customers, the better chance they’ll do it!
The end is the beginning
These are all, of course, just suggestions. If you take one thing away from this article, let it be the idea that your customer’s energy at the end of the appointment can be the fuel that powers their experience for next time. It’s a continuous loop. One experience leads to the next, and you should start looking at every new customer as a potential regular that just needs the right environment to live up to their full potential.
-The Setmore Team
Think back to your last appointment, did the service staff ask you for a review, referral, or pre-booking afterwards? Let us know in a comment below!
Categorized in: How-to