Dealing with negative feedback doesn’t need to be a negative experience, writes Stefan Kazakis
How you treat your customers is very important. This is an aspect of business that I love. I get pumped about this every day. Doing things with your customers that are above and beyond is a very cool thing to do.
A Customer Delight Culture in your business. It’s hugely important. Without customers your business is nothing, even if you have the greatest products or services in the world. If people aren’t buying, you have an expensive hobby not a business.
So let’s have a look at how you delight your customers. Not satisfy, delight.
If you want your customers to come back to you time and time and time again, just meeting their needs is not good enough. There are dozens, and maybe even hundreds, of other businesses out there that will meet your customers’ needs just as well as you can. It’s the minimum standard to be in business at all. To build a prosperous and sustainable machine that puts money in your pocket for years to come, you need to be proactive and think outside the square when it comes to dealing with customers.
You need to keep getting better and be an innovator. You can’t simply wait until there’s a problem and then step in and help. You need to offer the solution to the problem, and more. You need to see the problem before they do. You should always be communicating with your customers and seeing what else you can do to help – there will always be something. If you run a gym, can you open up a small crèche to look after the kids while the parents do a workout? If you’re a mechanic, start washing your customers’ cars at no extra cost. If you sell computers, throw in a free game with every computer sold so the kids can’t wait to get home and use it. Go above and beyond. That’s how you delight your customers. That’s how you keep them coming back.
If you own a restaurant, feed them! Have an abundance mindset, don’t have an attitude of scarcity. Give them an extra glass of wine. Keep bringing them bread throughout the meal. Bring a free bowl of chips for the kids. The small cost will disappear into insignificance when you start turning your customers into advocates who come back to your restaurant time and time again and they also tell their friends.
Make a Customer Delight Culture a non-negotiable part of the DNA of your business. Don’t just serve your customers, wow them! Make sure all your staff have the same approach. Show them that you care, not with a fake smile and a voucher for $10 off next time but by genuinely caring and being interested. Play dumb and dig deep. Make them feel as if they are the most important customer you have ever served – because they are. Each and every client is vital to the ongoing success of your business.
A great question to ask yourself is, ‘How can I give my customers something more than they expect?’ It’s simple but powerful. And here’s the key to creating a true Customer Delight Culture: you need to think outside the box when you answer this question. A crèche in a gym, washing cars for a mechanic and free games with a computer are great steps in the right direction, but they are just the beginning. What about giving your clients movie tickets, or a voucher for a restaurant, or sending flowers on their birthday? Business owners often look a bit surprised when I make these suggestions. It usually goes something like this: ‘But I run a gym; why would I give them movie tickets?’ I want you to have a think about this right now. Why would you give them movie tickets? Do you have the answer yet? Think about it… It’s actually really simply. You’d give them movie tickets because they’ll love it! That’s it! It doesn’t necessarily need to be related to your business. It doesn’t always have to be something they’ll expect from you or related to your products or services. Imagine if you signed up for a gym membership and you received a welcome letter that contained two gold class movie tickets. Or you picked your car up from the mechanic and the tickets were sitting on the front seat. Wouldn’t you be blown away? Wouldn’t you tell your friends? I sure would.
Doing things with your customers that are above and beyond is a very cool thing to do and will keep your customers coming back so that the cash register keeps ringing. The key is to consistently under promise and over deliver, and you do this with the right systems in place and a Customer Delight Culture.
Stefan Kazakis is a renowned business strategist, sought-after presenter and founder of Business Benchmark Group, which helps clients from a variety of crossroads and industries seize opportunities to achieve ongoing business success and substantial profit growth. Stefan is also the author of From Deadwood to Diamonds (Major Street Publishing, $29.95) and has over 20 years’ experience running successful small to medium sized businesses .