February 14, 2011

What you want your customers to say over and over again.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Have you ever consciously considered just what you want your customers to say to you? Probably not. Yet the exercise is important. The clearer you are about what you want your customers to say to you... the more likely you will do what is necessary to hear it.

1) 'Thanks for getting back to me so fast!'

When was the last time you heard this? When was the last time you deserved to hear it?

The plain fact is, too many businesses these slothful days don't have fast customer response as a priority. If they respond to the customer promptly, fine; if they don't respond to the customer promptly, no problem. It doesn't seem to faze them either way. WRONG! It matters! Customers use your response time as an indication of whether you are customer-centered, or not. Buying decisions and long-term relationships are thereby determined. Prompt response is good... prompter response is even better. Remember, if you're not hearing compliments from your customer about what you do... it's quite clearly because you don't deserve to!

2) 'Your staff was so helpful and pro-active!'

When was the last time you needed some help at a particular establishment -- and didn't get it? To tell the truth, it happens to all of us all the time, right? We either can't find a staffer. Or wait while that staffer finishes text-messaging his lady love. Or,  even worse, we get a staffer who doesn't know his job or what he has available. You know what I'm talking about because it happens to all of us all the time.

Instead of leaving this important matter to sort itself out, be clear on what you want your customers to say to you -- each and EVERY customer, mind --  and do what's necessary to hear it over and over again!

3) 'Thanks for working with me!'

Start from this proposition: if you want long-term customer relationships, working with your customers cannot be something episodic and casual; it must be the essence of what  you do and what your business is all about.

Like it or not (and you'd better like it), all customers are not the same; they all do not have the same situations. People who thrive in business, customer-centered people, understand there is no cookie-cutter approach to customers. Approaching them that way is just like one of Cinderella's sisters stuffing her foot into the glass slipper. It ain't gonna happen!

Customers need you to see their situation not as a problem to be solved, but as an opportunity demanding sense and sensibility. Do that and you will have earned their business, now and later. Fail to do that and you will deserve a customer's ultimate punishment: 'I'll take my business to someone who values it.' Ouch.

4) 'What a great offer! I'll take it.'

Haven't heard this lately? Then you're not making offers which are good enough... or frequent enough. As such, you're leaving money on the table.

To be in business is to be in the business of making offers, lots of offers, constant offers, daily offers; to understand that a day that goes by without a motivating offer is a money-making day gone forever and ever.

Is that the kind of business person you are? Casual? Neglectful? Lazy?


If you want people to compliment offers (and put money in your pocket), do what's necessary... today!

5) 'You didn't have to do that! I really appreciate it!'

Okay, customers can be a drag. They can be and often are rude, demanding, insistent, egotistically out of control and a total nuisance to boot. Yep, that sounds like customers we know.

They are also crucial to your business, profits, and your wealth and comfort.

The plain fact is, customers can and often do need extra help. They may need you to go the extra mile or two. To do this is often inconvenient for you. That's absolutely true but also absolutely irrelevant. The customer needs... you must help. If you don't, you have set the limits of your business, your profits, and your growth.

6) 'I thought service like that was gone forever!'
In olden days some of us are still young enough to remember, there was a thing called customer service. It was embodied by a young man at a filling station who hopped to it when you pulled in,  filled the tank, cleaned your wind shield, checked the pressure in your tires... and did it all with a bona fide all-American smile that wouldn't quit.

Where has this lad and all he represented gone?

If you aim for success and for customers to sing your praises, we'de better find him (or her) in your establishment!

Think about the service you have enjoyed from others. What made it good? What made it memorable? What made it obsolete in so many businesses, (perhaps including yours)... until now.

To offer 'wow' service is a decision. It is something you choose to do, or not. If it isn't present in a business, it's because that business decided to get by doing less. If everybody offers mediocre, entirely forgettable service it doesn't matter very much. But the minute a get-ahead business person does more that person gets a terrific advantage. Now that you've considered the matter, that person better be YOU!

7) 'I could tell you really cared!'

There may be, as P.T. Barnum famously said, 'a sucker born every minute', but most people can tell a phoney from the real thing. Which means they can tell without difficulty someone who is insincere, disinterested, and going through the motions without energy or conviction. That better not be you and yours.

Set the goal:  getting compliment after compliment from customers who are staggered by your service, your conviction and sincerity worth telling their friends about.

Why did this happen? Because you determined it would happen. Because you understood that having the kind of business people would stop in their tracks about was the only kind of business worth having. Congratulations! You are now not only a better business person, you are a better person, too. And that's just the person we want to do business with.

A Dedication

I dedicate this article to my long-term colleague and friend, Sandi Hunter of Worldprofit, Inc. Sandi 'gets' service. She understands it cannot be episodic and irregular. Instead, it must start in commitment and radiate through all customer contacts, on days when you feel like it... and, more importantly, on days when you don't. You probably wondered, Sandi, whether we noticed what you do. We do... and the customers do, too!

About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lant's live webcast TODAY and receive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice! Dr. Lant is the author of 18 best-selling business books.  Republished with author's permission by Robert King.


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