Scott McKain’s Advice on Being Iconic & Creating Meaningful Customer Experiences

On September 10th, our ‘Inner Circle’ members were joined by Scott McKain as our fourth ‘Expert Guest’ to discuss how to be “Iconic” in the hearing care industry. 

Scott McKain is a globally recognized authority on how organizations and professionals create distinction to attract and retain customers — and stand out in a hyper-competitive marketplace.

His recent book, “ICONIC: How Organizations and Leaders Attain, Sustain, and Regain the Ultimate Level of Distinction,” was recently named on as a TOP TEN BEST BUSINESS BOOK for 2018.

Scott shared with Inner Circle members how hearing care clinics can create distinction, become Iconic and create experiences that are truly meaningful to customers. Here are some key highlights:

How to be distinctive

Scott begins by sharing that before we become “Iconic” we first have to master becoming “distinctive”.

In order to become distinctive, it isn’t just about competing against price and convenience, but making your service stand out. The importance here is creating a point of differentiation that is meaningful to customers.

Creating virality & referrals: “Taxi Terry”

Scott continues by telling the first of a series of fascinating stories of distinction and going the extra mile. This one being about a Lyft driver known as “Taxi Terry”.

Taxi Terry took the time to really get to know the people that he transported, seeing beyond the fact that he was one of thousand offering the same service, he created distinction by getting to know his passengers. Who they were, where they were going – listening and then being sure to remember. The result? He was remembered, gained repeat business and referred widely.

Scott’s point here is that if you can get that kind of experience from a taxicab, why can’t you get it from hearing care? This is what a thrilled customer can do for you.

Congruency between promise and performance

The next discussion is around Scott’s premise of ‘playing offense’. And this is about looking at how to be aware and stand out, not how to imitate, which is most effectively done by leaning into the service proposition when everyone else is making a promise based on product

Creating that proposition is about evaluating performance based upon their perception of your promise and then creating congruence between promise and performance.

Under-promising and over delivering in Scott’s eyes is manipulative compared to “they did what they said they would do when they said they would do it.”

Is the device the hero?

Scott really gets us thinking when he talks about manufacturers. When he mentions the example of an iPhone, we learn that the device is made the hero and has the loyalty, not the networks, giving the manufacturer the power.

In the case of hearing care, we learn that manufacturers are often driving retailers to “sameness”, where they are focused on the feeling of being left behind if you don’t sell the device. The solution that Scott suggests here is to educate consumers that the promise isn’t access to the products, but the service.


Do customers want a lifetime of inferior service? 

We are next asked to question whether customers want to commit to a lifetime aftercare service as opposed to receiving excellent service on their purchase now.

It is really OK to provide extraordinary service on one device or transaction. The point with a lifetime guarantee is that it can create a distrust of the promise where the customer wonders if they were charged too much.

People may want an invisible device, but they don’t want an invisible experience. And the goal isn’t to make the device last, it’s to provide better hearing care over time.

The importance of “going negative”

Iconic performers aren’t afraid of the negative. In the case of something going wrong or a customer being dissatisfied, most people want to placate them or do what is needed to make them happy, rather than ask “what did we do wrong?”.

The best question to ask to get the most valuable answer is: “What p***ed you off?” This gets to the real answers, avoiding ambiguity.

“The people don’t get on the bus if they don’t know where the bus is going”  

It can be so overwhelming trying be Iconic that we keep doing what we’ve always done. Consider the cost of not doing the work and identifying where your destination is. It then becomes easier to bring your people along with you.

In doing this, think about where you were 12 months ago and see that you have already made progress.

Paraphrasing a story Scott tells, Zig Ziglar wrote 3 pages a day and ended up with a book after 6 months – what are your 3 pages a day?

Where do I start?

To begin to work towards becoming Iconic, Scott enourages us to ask these questions:

If a competitor came and disrupted your business and took customers, what would they do?

Why aren’t you doing this to disrupt yourselves?

And if someone opened next door and did the exact same thing as you, what would you do to differentiate?

And then what?

If you’re looking for little touches to make your clinic more distinctive, Scott advises you to consider what would be the ultimate customer experience from start to finish.

When considering this, get granular in the detail, asking yourself “and then what” to identify the smallest touches that will be different to others but meaningful to customers.

Reinventing the overall experience for your customers “3 pages at a time” is what will help you to become Iconic.

These are just some of the key notes from a 90-minute interview with Scott McKain. The full interview is only available to “Inner Circle” members, but you can view the highlights below.  

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