Fly-Fishing for Customers
Very big disclaimer! There are parts of a fishing metaphor that do not work when it comes to great customer service—like bait, hook, catch, or reeling in. But, regular fishing is to fly-fishing what whittling might be to scrimshaw; or grilling might be to gourmet confectionary baking!
Successful fly-fishing starts with a deep understanding of the fish. Regular fish might be attracted to any old slimly worm on a hook, but a rainbow trout is very particular. Buying or crafting a tiny lure that looks exactly like the insect the trout enjoys is an art in itself. It means gathering up-to-date intelligence on the trout’s preferences and requirements.
Then, there is presentation. In fly-fishing, you don’t just throw a line in the water and wait for the cork to go under. You present the lure to the trout in a fashion that is appealing and animated. Are you starting to see how this fits customer service? Fly-fishing takes enormous respect for the trout and special patience to get what is offered to precisely fit a trout’s interests.
But, the key difference between regular fishing and fly-fishing is what happens after the trout accepts your offering. Regular fishing requires you set the hook and reel in the fish. If you did that with a fly line as thin as a thread, the weight of the fish alone would snap it allowing the trout to escape. Just like customers, you land a trout, you don’t catch one. The fish remains in the water until it can be gently led into a dip net. And, then the most important part--the experience of the trout after it has been landed. Granted, some end up in the frying pan (that part should never fit customers!) Fly-fishing typically involves the use of a tiny barbless hook aimed at causing zero harm to the fish as it is released with minimal physical contact. Give a rainbow trout a great experience and it will taste your lure on a future fishing trip.
Customers are particular about your offering and require a tailored offering and appealing presentation uniquely suited to their interests. It means going to school on customers just like anglers carefully study fish. Once a customer has accepted your offering, provide an experience that remains customer-centric from start to finish. But, gaining a customer is only the beginning. The goal is to get customers to return and bring their funds and friends. How are you preparing to provide a service offering and experience that ensures your customers will want to continue to “taste your lure?” Let’s go fishing!