TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress has introduced the viewing public to the highly emotional and very demanding bridal industry. From bridezillas to family feuds to indecisive shoppers, the consultants deal with their fair share of challenges. But the show isn’t just about finding the right dress – there’s a good lesson to be learned about delivering superior service. Namely, that the client experience can be your largest differentiating factor for your company’s brand. Setting yourself apart can be as easy as putting your clients first.
The show takes place at New York’s Kleinfeld Bridal, which has become the go-to shopping destination for the newly engaged in search of the perfect bridal shopping experience – outshining many competitors in the densely-populated wedding retail industry. The endlessly entertaining reality series illustrates what a bit of pampering and attentiveness towards the customer can do for business.
There are three key customer service techniques implemented at Kleinfeld’s that CRE professionals can apply to their businesses:
1. Personalized Service. If you’ve had the opportunity to watch Say Yes to the Dress as many of us have (even the manliest of all men have been subjected to an episode by a significant other on occasion), you know how highly service-oriented the business is. Kleinfield’s mantra is: “The Bride is ALWAYS Right.” Tune in and you’ll see how hard the consultants work to do anything and everything for their clients in order to give them exactly what they want and make the experience one-of-a-kind.
In the CRE world, one of Building Engines’ clients – Golden Living Centers – is a great example of going the extra mile in customer service. Despite having a property management platform with 24/7 support and a dedicated account manager, Golden Living Centers chose to personally assist anyone in need with an internal help desk. This provides a quicker response time, personalized service, and a streamlined process for clients. For all 300-plus properties, the help desk can answer any question and walk the client through the system.
2. Measurable Outcomes. Who remembers the consultant who couldn’t sell from Season 1? She didn’t last very long at Kleinfeld’s because she couldn’t meet either the client or employer expectations. This is where measurability and accountability come into play. Kleinfeld’s knows what to expect in sales and how to measure a successful season.
When it comes to setting benchmarks in the CRE Industry, Lillibridge Healthcare Services is on top of it. Several years ago, the company was adamant about finding a solution to automate and measure the process of their tenant service request delivery. They engaged with Building Engines to establish a Tenant Satisfaction rating to ensure great response time (and address issues when there wasn’t) as well as generate a cohesive feedback loop for the tenant. After an initial test pilot, Lillibridge was able to achieve and demonstrate a 73% improvement in documented service delivery – with no staffing increases! Lillibridge’s decision to measure performance and use that data to enhance workflow processes is one of these reasons for their tenants’ longevity.
3. Standardized Processes. Don’t even get me started on Kleinfeld’s alterations process… perfection! The alterations department works like a well-oiled machine to schedule clients, pin and fit the gowns, adjust any discrepancies, and create the best fit possible for every bride. This structured fitting process brings the customer through the end of their purchase, with spot on customer service.
The power house of this technique in the CRE industry is Unico Properties. They have standardized the entire implementation and integration process for deploying buildings onto their property management platform. This system allows every building to be created, deployed and maintained in tandem with all other buildings under the portfolio. Each building is measurable in relation to the others and employees are transferable between properties.
With effective customer service techniques in place, CRE buildings are sure to separate themselves from competitors, leading to tenant attraction and retention, as well as cost savings. And that’s something any savvy business owner should say yes to!