Hopefully, you give your best customers some sort of gift at the end of the year. And ideally, you give them a lot of Critical Non-Essentials as they continue to do business with you. CNEs give your…
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Hopefully, you give your best customers some sort of gift at the end of the year. And ideally, you give them a lot of Critical Non-Essentials as they continue to do business with you.

What Are Critical Non-Essentials?

Critical Non-Essentials, or CNEs, are the “extras” that cost very little but contribute a lot to a customer’s satisfaction of the experience they have when utilizing a product or service. CNEs tend to demand a little thinking. They really boil down to you as an owner putting yourself in the shoes of the consumer and thinking about what “freebies” they value, rather than attempting to think about how to only improve your product/service.

Dr. Paddi Lund came up with the term when he realized how little his dental practice customers focused on the quality of his dental service. Instead, they focused on the little things, the non-core elements of going to a dentist that enhanced the experience. From there, business owners began to apply this concept to their businesses.

Why They’re Critical

Niche – What separates you from your competitors? Hopefully not price. And hopefully, a few critical non-essentials that you don’t typically think about. Little things like CNEs add bits of value to your product and ultimately, your whole business. Your niche and unique selling proposition rely more heavily on CNEs than you think.

Unfortunately, people judge books by their covers. Make your cover extraordinary and irresistible with CNEs.

Raving Fans – What do people do when they receive something extraordinary and irresistible? They talk about it!

Doctor and dentist offices do a fantastic job with this. They keep customers coming back repeatedly, not only because of their service, but the CNEs. The sweet admin lady who smiles and remembers your name. The show or album distracting you from that vicious root canal. The lollipop keeping your kid quiet for a few precious seconds.

Many “boring” organizations provide these CNEs because they need to spice up the line of work they are in to generate buzz.

Also, raving fans may rave about the product or service on a surface level, but many times they do so because the CNEs give them a great feeling that they have to share with others.

Charge More – When more of your customers become raving fans and get genuinely good feelings doing business with you, what does it do? It takes their eyes off of the price.  These A-Player customer invest more than their money into your business – they invest their emotions.

Little add-ons such as “free” bread at a restaurant may cost a little bit on the front end, but they allow you to charge more for the main product.

How To Incorporate

Before doing anything, start by identifying the CNEs in your business you didn’t know existed. You’d be surprised at how often these show up in your Google reviews or other testimonials. Your customers may rave about something that seems like nothing to you.

Look at your competition as well. Do they offer some CNEs that you can pull off better?

From there, think about how to improve those CNEs and identify the CNEs that may add some “wow” factor to your business. If you offer a service, what goods can you include that will improve your relationship with customers? If you sell goods, what can you do to improve the service that comes with it? Start there.

Once you come up with a few and put the systems in place to offer it, add the CNEs to your marketing. Willingly put tell others about every single perk your business offers, no matter how small.

Think outside the box and consider the “wow” factors and Critical Non-Essentials that you can implement with little cost but high effect. What are three things you can begin this week?

Don’t just save the gift-giving for the upcoming holidays. Give your customers – the people who put food on the table for you and your employees – little gifts in the form of CNEs as much as possible.

Ready to expand your marketing and sales playbook even further? Schedule your free strategy session with an ActionCOACH business coach before the holidays, and head into the new year with a roadmap to marketing and customer experience mastery.

Prepared to broaden your strategies in marketing and sales?

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