Attention To The Basics Breeds Business Success - Business Times Column #127
One of the biggest differences between creating raving fans out of your customers or not is getting the multitude of basic things right on a consistent basis.
Just a moment of reflection on your own experiences will reveal your favorite businesses — the ones you frequent often and enthusiastically tell others about — are those that consistently go the extra mile to provide you with happy and satisfied feelings.
Companies that make it their business to foster happiness in their customers are the most enlightened and successful of all.
They understand successful operations are, first and foremost, about serving people and ensuring their satisfaction. These businesses know increasing the pleasure, fulfillment and happiness of the patrons who support them with their hard-earned dollars builds a base of loyal and referring customers.
A wise goal for any business that desires lasting success is to place a high priority on satisfying customer wants and needs. Every customer comes through your doors for a reason. Understanding what they truly want and then fulfilling it will lead to ongoing satisfaction. In return, they’ll come back for more and tell others about their wonderful experiences while doing business with you.
How you greet your customers is important because it creates a lasting first impression each time they engage your business. If the greeting they receive is nonexistent or lackadaisical — lacking in smiles, energy or a caring attitude — your customers will be turned off from the start. Conversely, if they’re acknowledged quickly by a smiling, happy person who’s receptive and caring, they’ll be open to your business and what it has to offer. The greeting is an opportunity to set the stage for success every time a customer chooses to do business with you.
I’ve yet to meet a person who didn’t want to be listened to. Yet, all too often customers aren’t heard by the businesses serving them. In fact, when this occurs, customers aren’t being served at all. They’re undervalued and neglected — and they know it. This feeling won’t endear them to your business. When you listen to your customers and train your team to do the same, customers feel acknowledged, valued and cared for. The result is greater trust, rapport, satisfaction and loyalty.
When you and your team members truly listen to your customers, you’ll more accurately assess their wants and needs. This will position you to ask key questions to help you fully understand their desires and offer the appropriate high-quality solutions. With this type of solid communication in place, your business creates the possibility of accurately meeting and even exceeding your customer’s wants and needs.
How mistakes are handled constitutes another important demarcation among poor, good and exceptional businesses. Errors made by your business should never become the responsibility of your customer. This is a sure fire way to damage your reputation and lose business. It’s far wiser to be integrity based — to own any missteps, no matter how costly, and do all you can within reason to correct the situation. The impressions you leave with customers will be lasting ones.
Ideally, every business owner and team member wants their customers to leave feeling not only satisfied, but also better than when they arrived. Ultimately, it’s the feeling you give your customers that matters most. When people leave your business feeling better, you’ve added value to their lives, and value — receiving a quality experience, not just a good price — is what they seek.
All of us have our favorite places to do business, and the reasons are obvious. These companies constitute the exception to the rule and have set themselves apart by going above and beyond in satisfying us. They truly care about their products or services as well as the customers who make their successes possible.
Make it a high priority to get the basics right. Engaging the assistance of a professional coach or consultant offers a highly effective means to uncover your weaknesses and efficiently turn them into strengths. Commit to operating a business that consistently delivers on the basics. Do it with integrity and gratitude because, without satisfied customers, the happiness and success you desire will prove illusive.