Companies that are in the business of fostering happiness in their customers are the most enlightened of all. They understand successful operations are, first and foremost, about serving people and ensuring their satisfaction. These businesses know that increasing the pleasure, fulfillment and happiness of the patrons who support them with their hard-earned dollars will build a base of loyal and referring customers.
The difference between creating raving fans out of your customers or not is getting the multitude of basic or “little” things right on a regular basis. Just a moment of reflection on your personal experiences will reveal your favorite businesses — the ones you frequent often and tell others about with great enthusiasm — are those that consistently go the extra mile in their efforts to leave you feeling happy and satisfied.
Here are some of the critical “basics” to which you must pay close attention and deliver consistently as you endeavor to create true and lasting success in your business:
Greeting your customers: How you greet your customers 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 smiles, energy or a caring attitude — your customers will be turned off from the start. Conversely, if your customers are acknowledged quickly by a smiling, happy person — one who’s receptive and caring — they will be open to your business and what it has to offer. The greeting offers an opportunity to set the stage for success every time a customer chooses to do business with you.
Listening to your customers: 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 being undervalued and neglected, and they know it. 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 rapport, increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Understanding your customers: When you and your team members truly listen to your customers, you’ll be able to more accurately comprehend their wants and needs. In turn, this will position you to ask the key questions that will 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 customers’ wants and needs.
Correcting mistakes for your customers: How mistakes are handled constitutes another 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 base your operation on integrity — to own any missteps, no matter how costly, and do all you can, within reason, to correct the situation with your customer. The impression you leave them with will be a lasting one.
Satisfy your customers’ wants and needs: A wise goal for any business that wishes to be a 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 their satisfaction. In return, they’ll come back for more and tell others about their wonderful experiences while doing business with you.
Give your customers a great feeling: 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 represent the exception to the rule and have set themselves apart by going above and beyond in satisfying us. They truly care about the people who make their success possible.
Make it a priority to get the basics right. Engaging the assistance of a professional coach or consultant offers a highly effective means to uncovering your weaknesses and efficiently turning them into strengths.
Commit to running a business that consistently delivers on the basics. And do it with integrity and gratitude, because without satisfied customers, there’s no business or success.