Posted: Thu 19th May 2022
A few weeks ago, I wrote a short blog on 'mission, vision, goals and core values' for Enterprise Nation.
One of the key points was the importance of the owner/CEO's core values and how they help shape the business, enabling both the employees and customers to understand what they can expect when working with a company.
I’d like to explore why this word is so important in one’s business and how one’s core values shape the business. We all want to succeed in our business, considering the time and energy required not just to get started but to maintain momentum.
In the early 18th Century, highway robbers were rife, and a classic saying came out of that era – STAND AND DELIVER – and later: your money or your life.
The word ‘deliver’ of course meant: 'hand over your valuables if you value your life.'
So, those poor reluctant passengers did just that. That word has moved on a bit and refers more to ‘take goods, letters, parcels to homes or place of work’.
Taking that word even one step further, it is also about how you deliver your products to customers, how your brand is perceived, your customer service and the care and attention given to every detail of your business.
It’s the tone of your voice from that first phone greeting, to convey to a client or potential client how they will be respected and treated. That important first impression will excite and create a desire to work with that business.
The word ‘deliver’ also means more to me. How will you as the owner, chairperson, chief executive (or anyone representing the best interests of the company), deliver on what the company represents to its customers/clients, as well as its shareholders?
Reflecting on my import business
I imported from China, which at times was a nightmare despite carefully calculating every step of processing an order.
Accounting for all unseen situations, shipping time, customs clearance and road haulage to ensure my client received their order on time and yes – it occasionally backfired.
A late delivery for me would result in heavy penalties, wiping out my profit margin for that order and causing stress between my client and myself, and worse, loss of my client’s business.
How will one deliver great customer service to keep them happy and retain them for ongoing business?
How does one deliver products from home, store or online to your customer and enhance their experience?
Neither of the above is easy, but they’re achievable by implementing core principles from the inception of one’s business.
Some get it right
During lockdown, I discovered just how efficient and streamlined Amazon was in their delivery of goods and customer service, and I learned a great deal from them.
I further researched another company – Zappos, a shoe business based in the USA and now owned by Amazon. Its CEO, Tony Hsieh wrote in an article: How I did it: Zappos’s CEO on going to extremes for customers:
“Looking back, I attribute most of our growth over the past few years to the fact that we invested time, money, and resources in three key areas: customer service, company culture, and employee training and development."
As many of you know, it does not matter if you are a start-up or a long-time business owner, one’s delivery reputation is at the heart of the business.
How we deliver can communicate confidence and preparedness to customers.
It is incredible how our expectations around delivering our goods/services have changed. At one time, we were prepared to wait for six weeks for delivery. In fact, when I first started my business, I had to wait up to 18 months for an order to be fulfilled and delivered!
Now, we can receive our products within one hour from order placement. This got me thinking of the people who:
Prepare the goods and all that entails
The variety of courier services now available
Individuals driving cars, riding bikes, delivering on foot door-do-door
The question is: do we really need something within the hour when previously we were prepared to wait longer?
So many of our customers' thought processes and impressions are subliminal so...
What can we do to maintain longevity with clients and deliver great customer service long after delivering our product?
Consistently good delivery shows your ability to provide good, caring customer service
Show your customers you are efficient and care about their ‘bottom line’
Understand clearly what is at stake if their orders are late
Longevity with the same customers is important. It’s expensive and time consuming to search for new ones. Retaining current customers is the cheapest option.
Timely deliveries make for high customer and client satisfaction. Not only will receiving their goods on time please them, but courteous courier services will make for a pleasant delivery process.
A positive and well-designed delivery experience will improve customer retention and do wonders for your marketing, which in turn will help to increase sales
You communicate to your customer that you care for them, and the importance of their business to you
What makes for a good delivery?
Get it right the first time - don't allow any room for error –check before you tape the top of that box
Keep the item safe - whenever possible, ensure fragile items are well packed
Offer options – stand out from your competitors
Marketing is essential
Use an ensured courier
Pop your catalogue or some further information about your products into your package or via a thank you card. This will engage your customer further and keep you forefront of their minds
Send a follow-up email
I love getting a delivery from Massimo Dutti, Zara’s big sister company. The product comes beautifully packed with layers of tissue paper, with a black ribbon handle on the outside.
It’s a luxury experience.
Business should be built around how to deliver excellent customer service. It’s easy to forget its importance when there’s a temptation to focus on web presence and marketing.
As a business coach, my product is my coaching, and how I deliver my product and myself is no different to the points outlined above.
As a takeaway, my three key action points would be:
Respond as quickly as possible
Fix your mistakes instantly
Listen to your customers and think long term – your customers become your family