The discovery of our seven secrets of magnetic service came through intense study of several brands that elicit cult-like enthusiasm. We interviewed managers, employees, and devoted customers of well-known brands, looking for patterns or practices that yield customer devotion. Whether the company was posh or penny-pinching, the difference between remarkable and run-of-the-mill lay not with the price the customer pays but rather the value the customer felt privileged to experience.
Secret 1. Make trust a verb. The rock-bottom principle on which magnetic service is based is trust. It comes, in part, from a belief that a great service experience was not serendipitous. While customers may be infatuated by an enchanting fluke, their ongoing allegiance is anchored to the pursuit of experiences they feel can be replicated.
Trust starts with authenticity - we trust others when we perceive their motives are genuine or credible. Trust comes from a track record of promises made, paralleled with promises kept. Trust emerges as a result of demonstrated competence that leaves customers assured they are dealing with someone with the capacity to perform.
Secret 2. Focus on customer hopes, not just needs. Magnetic service providers know that under the surface of the obvious customer need lies the customer's hopes and wishes for what might happen. Tapping into this reservoir not only enables firms to earn the customer's loyalty, it ensures that they solidify that loyalty by anticipating future needs.
Secret 3. Add "charisma" to the service mix. Establishing customer devotion requires taking a position that is exciting, bold, and somewhat daring. It’s not just more than what the customer expected, but something different from what the customer expected. The nature of the engagement is personal and moving. People are favorably attracted to service providers when an emotional link is created with that person. And, when that link is profound without being violating, purposeful without being manipulative, and done without presumption on your part, it makes doing business with you a treasured activity.
Secret 4. Engage the customer's curiosity. One way to appeal to the customer's curiosity is to create a path for participation. The allure of customer participation arises not from the fact that they require that customers actually join, but rather from the fact that they offer the option for doing so. It is the potential for inclusion more than the enrollment experience itself that sparks the customer's innate curiosity.
Secret 5. Give customers an occasional miracle. We have all experienced or heard about those magnetic service moments in which someone pulled out all the stops. Whether we are recipient or witness, such unexpected, out-of-the-box experiences remind us that service miracles can still happen. Miracles cannot be regular fare; but the special gesture communicates not only a desire to serve, but also a yearning to enchant. Service miracles leave customers more emotionally moved than simply delighted; more blessed than blown away. They leave customers uplifted and eager to discuss what happened with others.
Secret 6. Empower customers through comfort. Customers feel empowered when they experience psychological comfort, and magnetic service provides psychological comfort by offering reliability and predictability. We abhor dissonance and the kind of ambiguity that makes us feel out of control. Our aversion to unpredictability means that for a service moment to be magnetic, it must be congruent with the customer's notion of what ought to happen.
Customers are also empowered when service renders physical comfort - the kind that reflects a smooth operation. This means that the experience is not just hassle-free; it is noticeably comfortable, strikingly reliable, and surprisingly seamless. It requires establishing processes and systems that ensure a customer's need is met without anxiety or negative surprises. Think of it as providing service without any drag.
Secret 7. Reveal your character by unveiling your courage. Magnetic service should reflect a deeper purpose or destiny befitting of the vision and marketplace strategy. Service with character also has a sense of innocence, naturalness, and purity. It need not be completely obvious to the customer, but it must not feel manipulative or devious.
Magnetic service works when it emerges from the service provider's natural joy. Such service is not only clean and ethical, but it is also considerate, kind, and thoughtful. It can be subtle, but if it is devoid of a childlike purity and honesty, the customer will feel they have been the subject of a ruse rather than the target of a reward.