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Every time someone walks through the door of your business (or interacts with you or your team members), you have the opportunity to convert them into a loyal customer, or even a raving fan.

(My definition of a loyal customer: someone who chooses your company over and over again. Another way of saying it is a regular repeat customer.

Why is it so important to think this way?

Well if you are not seizing the opportunity to convert people who cross your path into loyal customers, not only the business will be missing but you may actually be repelling it!

I had a “repelling” experience last week when I, as a responsible pet owner, took my cat (Jack) in to a local vet clinic to be neutered.

As my main vet is a holistic vet and isn’t set up to do surgeries, I decided to go to a local clinic where I know one of the technicians.

My first repelling moment came when I called the clinic to set up an appointment. The receptionist asked me for a current rabies certificate. I replied that my cat had just been vaccinated and I provided the name of the clinic where it happened.

The receptionist’s replied: “You need to produce the certificate or we will vaccinate him again.” Now I am particularly sensitive here because I am cautious of over-vaccination. However it was her almost militant tone that made me go hmmm.

So I called my regular vet, they faxed over a certificate and everything was fine.

Except it wasn’t – it was strike number one. If it wasn’t for the person I knew there, I probably would have said no thank you, cancelled the appointment and gone somewhere else. Instead, decided to give them a chance.

The morning of Jack’s surgery, I came to the clinic to check him in (poor little guy!).

The receptionist (same person) went through what was going to happen, informed me about when Jack could be picked up and then gave me a release form to sign. Normal protocol.

And this is when strike two happened: along with the disclaimer came another sheet showing their upsell offers.

The upsells were presented in terms that sounded like they were necessary for the health of the animal.

I was looking at this upsell sheet with a prejudiced eye from two perspectives: as a coach specializing in creating ON Brand customer experiences and as a person standing on the other side of the counter of a vet clinic (I worked as a vet tech many many years ago).

One upsell offer was a complete bloodwork analysis. Even if this is not necessary at this stage or for this surgery, it can be a useful piece of information.

It was the second upsell that represented strike number two. It offered intravenous fluid to help Jack recover from the anesthetic at grossly inflated prices.

I know that intravenous fluid is not necessary or even recommended for such a minor surgery AND YET I’m standing there, looking at that paper, feeling as if I am a bad pet owner for not choosing the option.

This is a perfect example of an upsell that takes advantage of the customer instead of creating greater value.

Strike three came with the bill. Besides the fact that it was expensive (not surprising by this point!) the price should have been part of the disclaimer notice signed at the beginning. Minor issue but another strike on the list.

The moral of this story is: Treat each customer as a possible loyal customer – not just a transaction.

The staff approach and upsell process at the vet clinic were all set up for transactions rather than creating customer relationships and repeating business. They were trying to maximize the amount of money generated from one procedure and completely missed the lifetime value potential.

Huge mistake!

Think about it – how much profit is walking out the door whenever someone leaves without being converted into a regular customer?

Take a look at your business – are you increasing the bond and relationship at each point of customer interaction? Are you building perceived value and long term benefit? Or are you repelling and pushing your customers away?

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