How do you make your customers fall in love with your business? A crucial part of any business is building and nurturing the relationship. However, today an unhappy customer has a very powerful weapon to voice their opinion- it's called social media and the web. This is why it's even more critical to create memorable experiences so that they can fall in love with your business.
Focusing on creating excellent and memorable experiences for your customers is a business opportunity everyday. Too many businesses today fall short of this, which gives you the perfect opportunity to court and nab new customers.
Never assume you know what your customers want.
-Renee Evenson, Customer Service Training 101
While this tip seems so obvious, it's a lesson we can all keep refreshing ourselves on. It's still so easy to get it wrong, plus it pertains to so many areas: customer service, sales, marketing, problem resolution, and on and on.
Let's looks at a couple of specific sample scenarios to see how it applies.
I recently selected an airline that I had never flown before, and to my surprise, if possible, will never fly again. The overall feeling I had about my experience with this airline was not just about money, it was the way they made me "feel" about how they choose to do business. Just my efforts to check in to my flight was made difficult. Instead of just letting me check in, I had to sign up for their frequent flier program, regardless if I wanted to or not. Also, their website was not user-friendly. I learned while checking my bag in at the airport the day of my flight, had I checked the bag in online, the charge would have been about half cost and every bag gets a charge. Where is the customer care in that, especially when the website didn't navigate easily? They boldly, proudly, and in a condescending manner, said, "Do not give us 'that look' when the beverage cart comes around, and we charge you for water, because this airlines charges for everything." Interestingly, after this announcement, the two people sitting in my row both said they were warned by their friends not to fly this airline.
All of this got me thinking about how many people on that flight felt like my row felt, and would they complain or just leave without comment? How dangerous for a company to have this large of a disconnect with their customers. My choice was to comment, which I hope informs this airline of my experience, however, sadly most will not complain to the company, but they will tell many about their poor experience.
In many service businesses, the industry—not the client—defines quality. In advertising, when most creative people say, "That's a really good ad," they don't mean that the ad might build the client's business. They just mean that it has a good headline, good visual—it's good. Neat. Cool. Many architects treasure buildings that are enormously inconvenient for the people who work inside. Still, architects call them great buildings. Ask: Who is setting your standards—your industry, your ego, or your clients?
-Harry Beckwith, Selling the Invisible
Customers come in all shapes and sizes, and we can probably all agree that the most difficult is the angry customer. This is someone who has been wronged (in his/her opinion) and is upset and emotional. We get it- mistakes happen, and you will have upset customers. Did you know that ~80% of dissatisfied customers tell 10 people and ~20% of dissatisfied customers tell 20 people? You don't want this negative publicity- NO WAY! So as soon as it is apparent that your customer is upset or that there is a problem, it is absolutely necessary to deal with the situation ASAP. Unlike the customer, you are not angry, you are in control, and your only problem at the moment is helping him/her with his/her problem so that the stories these customers tell are positive and ones that showcase proper service recovery instead of the other way around.