Three Steps To Elating Your Customers And Winning Their Hearts

Three Steps To Elating Your Customers And Winning Their Hearts

Ever been in a Chik-fil-a and had an unhappy exchange with an employee? Probably not. Me either.

These people care. That’s what happens when employees are not just doing a job, but doing a mission. Somebody has explained to them that they are not just re-filling your ice tea glass. It’s so much more. And they know it.

It’s more evidence that customer service begins and ends with your people. And, if your people are engaged then your customers are as well.

And that’s important, because engaged customers are different. They tend to buy more of your products or services; they tolerate your occasional errors better; they come back to your store or site more often; and they are your best advocates. They tell other people about you and their experience there and how good your product or service is.

Just think how much less you could spend on advertising if all of your customers were out there talking about you in the community. I don’t know about you, but I trust my friends. When they tell me something I can take it to the bank. Advertising, in whatever form it takes, not so much. If you try too hard to sell me on something I get skeptical and wonder why you are working so hard. But if my friend tells me over coffee that you are great, then I make a mental note that I keep forever.

I write books. Authors always wonder how they can sell more books. Well, the truth is, books are sold primarily on Amazon and in the back of the room when authors speak to groups. But there’s an equally powerful engine that drives book sales-word of mouth. If someone recommends a book to you, don’t you at least consider buying it? It piques your interest because someone you trust has recommended it. And so it goes for your business.

The Implications for Leaders and Business Owners

So, with all of this in mind, what does this mean for business owners?

First of all, you have to think long and hard about who on your team should be dealing with your customers. Not everybody is a great customer facing employee. As author Larry Stuart says, “You can’t train a smile.” If you want a smile, you’ll have to hire for it and not settle. These days that is much more difficult because we have more jobs open than people to fill them. But, those smiling people are out there, so don’t stop until you find them. They are so worth it.

Secondly, you have to find great managers for these people. As with customer facing employees, everybody is not cut out to be a great manager. Remember that people join an organization, but they leave a manager. You can’t afford to have somebody in your organization buzz sawing your good people out of the place and sending them to your competition. Get the right managers in place and save yourself a lot of grief.

Third, once you have good managers in place, train them. Make them understand the mission of your organization and be sure they buy into it before you install them in a position to manage your most precious asset—your people. Tell them that they can trust their employees to do the right thing. Empower them to empower their people to solve problems for your customers with no questions asked.

If you put these pieces together, you will see an amazing thing happen. Retention will improve. There will be consistently world class customer service. Your financials will get better. You’ll have less headaches.

People on a mission take others with them. They want you and your organization to succeed and  it is their pleasure to do everything in their power to see that it happens.

Engaged employees plus well-trained great managers equals engaged customers. A simple but not easy formula for success.

Forbes.com Contributor

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