When customers like — or better yet — love your business, they give you their patronage and share their glowing recommendations. Business owners who want to create enterprises that survive challenging times and thrive in easy times should endeavor to create raving fans of their customers.
Over the past two plus years, I’ve encountered business owners proud to share positive feedback from new customers. Those customers used to frequent other businesses before the COVID-19 pandemic. But those firms dropped the ball with service. Owners told me customers felt respected, cared for and welcomed by their team members and would now do business with them.
The most effective way to create raving fans of your customers is to first create raving fans of your team members. They interact with your patrons and deliver customer service. In many instances, team members control the quality of the products and services you provide. If your team members don’t trust respect, like and appreciate you, your business will suffer due to decreased customer satisfaction.
How do business owners and managers create raving fans of their team members?
People want to be liked and accepted. This is a basic need. We typically treat people we like differently from those we don’t like. When you like someone, you take an interest in them, build relationships and care about them. They know it. They also know when you don’t like or care about them.
Your team members aren’t merely assets, resources or cogs in the wheel of business. They’re human beings with lives, challenges, fears, hopes and dreams just like you. Get to know your people. Most team members who are treated this way develop a real sense of loyalty and commitment to the business and the customers it serves. When people on your team feel cared about, they return the favor to you and your customers.
People want to feel valued and appreciated. Don’t you? Now, more than ever, praise team members for jobs well done. They aren’t going to be perfect. But if they give their best in caring for your customers, let them know you value and appreciate them.
There are many ways to show your genuine appreciation of your team members. Knowing what they value matters. When a member of your team is on time, does consistently high-quality work, improves their skills and abilities and treats your customers with the utmost regard, reward them accordingly. Otherwise, they’ll work for another business and turn its customers into raving fans.
People want to feel important. They want to know they matter and contribute to the team. Creating this feeling in your team members is as easy as involving them in the decision-making process. If you’re truly running the company and they’re working in operations, your team members likely will be aware of things you’re not.
Ask for, listen to and really consider their input as you make decisions and implement changes. This doesn’t mean you’ll take action on every suggestion. It does mean you think enough of your team members — and ultimately your customers — to get their perspectives and implement their great ideas when and where you can.
Team members who are treated well are typically more engaged, motivated, caring, loyal and willing to go the extra mile for customers because the business owner does the same for them. Turnover decreases as efficiency and productivity increase. Sales are captured, not lost.
It’s important to realize customer loyalty starts at the top — with the business owner. Who you are and how you treat people when doing business will determine customer satisfaction, loyalty and success. As you begin to involve, value, care for, recognize and support your team members to a greater degree, the quality of your business will rise along with them.
Given the challenges of a possible recession, more COVID, continued labor shortages and high inflation, I urge you to understand and honor the symbiotic relationships among you, your team members and customers. When your team members are your biggest fans, they create raving fans of your customers. Happy customers are repeat customers. They spend more of their hard-earned money with you and constitute a great source of referrals.