If I eat in a restaurant with a $40 main course, my expectation of the service standards is certainly different than in a restaurant with a $7 meal. My ultimate satisfaction, therefore my tendency to rave and tell others depends entirely on my expectations being exceeded. I naturally adjust my expectation to the brand and price.
Business owners need to understand the concept of under promising and over delivering. It's the core factor leading to the ever important "word of mouth referral".
Your processes and all your staff should be focused on being better than "the others".
Several years ago I had a role in the government which lifted my Qantas frequent flyer status to "Chairman’s Club". This is their top level status, it's by invite only, it costs nothing and there are no discounts, just a lift in customer experience.
There's a special club behind unmarked doors. Anywhere in the world, even if flying with someone else, you can use any Qantas club. Your baggage and boarding passes are marked. You are greeted by name everywhere. You can request other travelers to be seated beside you. Priority is given if upgrading. If "up front" is a bit empty you will be upgraded without cost. If the flight is nearly full you can pick the Chairman people in the back - they all have empty seats beside them. Their different phone numbers, are answered almost instantly. The website recognizes you and makes it faster and easier to arrange everything.
These extra benefits cost Qantas very little. Would I travel on anyone else - of course not. How do my family and staff fly - you guessed it.
Qantas have this nailed. It's all controlled with great systemized processes. Do the other passengers know - of course not - to know someone is being treated better than you, could be a put down.
In one of my businesses we have a VIP program. We regularly scan our data base to find customers using us multiple times. We send a thank you with a status up date. A special different phone number is allocated which is priority answered, often in the customer’s name as their phone number is tagged by our system. Our service providers have their job sheets appropriately marked. Right through all our processes the customers are prioritised and treated as extra special.
Of course acknowledging all customers and treating them to your normal standards is important. VIP's are our extra step clients. They are the stable essential life blood of our business - we value their ability to rave to others about our services.
My question to you is - what are you doing with your best customers?
Mike O'Hagan is today semi retired with 6 businesses in 4 countries. His "give back" is to move Business Owners from working "in" their business (slavery) to working "on" their business (freedom). He charges nothing for mentoring and is worth a quick chat on Skype - he's always travelling. Google Mike and LinkedIn connect.