Make It Your Business To Foster Happy Customers - Column #184
For any business to become a lasting success, it must satisfy customer wants and needs. Understanding what they truly want and then fulfilling their needs leads to ongoing satisfaction. In return, they’ll not only come back for more, but also tell others about their wonderful experiences doing business with you.
One of the biggest differences between creating raving fans of your customers and not is getting the multitude of basic things right on a consistent basis.
Just a moment of reflection on your experiences will reveal your favorite businesses — those you frequent often and tell others about with great enthusiasm — consistently go the extra mile to provide you with a happy and satisfied feeling.
Companies that make it their business to foster happiness in their customers are the most enlightened and successful of all. Successful business operations are, first and foremost, about serving customers and ensuring their satisfaction. Increasing the pleasure, fulfillment and happiness of the patrons that support them with their hard-earned dollars enlarges a base of loyal and referring customers.
The greeting your customers receive is vitally important because it creates a lasting first impression each time they engage your business. If the greeting they receive is non-existent or lackadaisical — lacking in enthusiasm, smiles and a caring attitude -— your customers will be turned off from the start. Conversely, if they’re acknowledged quickly by a smiling, happy person — one who’s receptive and caring — they’ll remain 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 someone who didn’t want to be heard. Yet, all too often customers aren’t heard by the businesses serving them. In fact, they’re not served at all. They’re undervalued and neglected. What’s more, they know it.
When you truly listen — and train your team to do the same — your customers feel acknowledged, valued and cared for. The results are trust, rapport, increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
When you and your team members truly listen to your customers, you’ll more accurately comprehend their wants and needs. Asking key questions that help you fully understand their desires and paying attention to their answers will position you to offer high-quality solutions. With this type of solid communication in place, your business meets and even exceeds your customers’ expectations.
In exceptional companies, owners, managers and other team members want their customers to leave feeling not only satisfied, but also better than when they arrived. Ultimately, it’s the feeling you give 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.
Handling mistakes 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 better to own any missteps made by you or your team no matter how costly and do all you can, within reason, to correct the situation with your customer. The impression you leave will be a lasting one.
All of us have our favorite places to do business, and the reasons are obvious. These companies set themselves apart by going above and beyond in satisfying us. They truly care about their products or services and the customers who make their success possible.
If all of this seems overwhelming, engaging the assistance of a professional coach or consultant offers a highly effective means to uncovering your weaknesses and efficiently turning them into strengths.
Get the little things right. Commit to operating a business that delivers on the basics on a consistent basis. Do it with integrity, care and gratitude because, without satisfied customers, the happiness and success you desire will remain illusive.