In Marketing, Startup Management

This morning I took my car into Kwik Fit for some new tyres, and I was reminded once again what a pleasure it is to deal with these guys.  While I waited, I thought through the key reasons why I always find getting work done at Kwik-Fit such a positive experience, and realised that the same fules can be applied to the start-up business I work with…

I came in, they price matched the internet deal I had printed out, got my car on the ramp, and got to work within a few minutes.  This is a business that is highly focussed on the needs of their customers – people who want new tyres or exhausts fitted quickly, simply and economically.

This contrasts starkly with the main dealership which I have now given up on visiting entirely.  They seem to believe that for even the most minor repair I want to book a week in advance and that I benefit from sitting in their “executive waiting area” with “Country Life” magazine and free coffee.  They seem convinced that I want to wait in this delightful environment for at least three hours, and that what I really want is to buy a new car while I wait.  They also have a track record of returning the car in worse condition than when I put it in, either with faults unrepaired or new faults created.  It’s pretty sad that a supposedly premium brands service can be so unsatisfying to the customer.

Kwik-Fit and car dealerships may appear to have little in common with the high-tech start-ups I spend my days working with, but I think that the principle reasons Kwik-Fit works for me apply equally to startups and their customers:

  1. Focus on solving the customers problem – When I go to Kwik-Fit they are entirely focussed on the problem I have and not on selling me a new car!
  2. Solve the customers problem effectively – I was convinced I got the best price as they matched the best deal they could find, and they fitted tyres from stock while I waited.
  3. Set clear expectations with the customer on the scope and timescale of the solution – Kwik-fit told me it would take an hour
  4. Meet or exceed the expectations set with the customer – The car was ready for me in 40 minutes
  5. Don’t bother customers with things that don’t help them (which often includes the details of how your technology works or attempts to up-sell/cross-sell) – After checking I was satisfied with the service I received, they pointed out my service indicator said 3,300 miles to the next service, and that they would be very happy to servie the car for me when the time came.  It felt like a natural extension of the transaction, NOT a forced attempt to sell.

Many start-ups will have additional expectations of their own for early customer engagements, for example:

  • Further business on more or bigger projects, or elsewhere in the customer organisation
  • A case study or references to encourage other customers to buy
  • Feedback on the solution to help develop the product or service

I believe that these benefits like these arise naturally from engagements where the previous criteria have been met – satisfied customers will generally be happy to help suppliers who demonstrate their usefulness.

The best demonstration I can offer of this effect is that while waiting to hand over the best part of £400 to maintain the status quo (I will get no satisfaction or joy from new tyres), I’m sitting here writing about how much I like coming to Kwik-Fit! 

Do your customers to feel the same way about your business?

  • Jody

    brilliant – the final paragraph says it all!!!

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