Ready to hear your new edge in business? It’s customer love. The key is simple: Stop selling and start connecting.
Going beyond the transaction is what keeps you in business. Only 4 percent of entrepreneurial ventures survive to see 10 years. I’m proud to be one of the exceptions, with 18 years behind me as a speaker, author and coach. Before starting out on my own, I spent years in hospitality, even working at Disney, so I have a deep appreciation for great customer service. My years as a solopreneur have only furthered my belief that relationships are the currency of professional success.
By turning introductions into opportunities and moments into memories, you can create clients for life.
Unforgettable experiences improve your brand story, increase customer retention and stimulate word-of-mouth marketing. I am convinced that this is the greatest time in history to level up your business, and I challenge you to think of your interactions as connect-the-dot experiences that confirm why someone should do business with you instead of the bland customer service encounter they might expect from one of your bigger, stronger competitors.
To understand how to truly love your customer and provide the ideal service experience for them, get to the bottom of three key questions.
- What is the experience of your business, brand or service?
- Are your client connections meaningful, or only money-oriented?
- Where can you create an above-and-beyond moment?
Once you have drilled down on the answers to these questions, you can get to work connecting with people. Customer love is the professional embodiment of intentional empathy, creating a positive emotional imprint and giving extra effort with no strings attached.
There are a few primary principles I learned early in my career and use in my own business to this day. I know they’ll help you, no matter if you’re moving real estate, working as an independent marketer or coach, or trying to find the true believers in your startup.
1. See customers as guests.
Provide a warm and gracious greeting to everyone you come into contact with, thus creating a customer love environment.
Action tip: Use your customer’s name when possible; if you don’t know it, ask it.
2. Personalize the experience.
Even if most of your customer interactions are online instead of face-to-face, first impressions still count. David Crystal, a renowned British linguist, wrote in his book, The Stories of English, about how modern technology has affected language. He explains that email, texting and “netspeak” have all visibly changed the way we interact with language, as wel as how quickly our modern vernacular evolves.
3. Anticipate and uncover needs.
A great example would be how the digital analytics company Amplitude is partnering with the fitness brand Peloton. I recently had a chance to speak at a virtual event for Amplitude and learned that Peloton is brilliant enough to leverage the behaviors of their most active users. They developed a framework to harness the most emergent activities: Observe customer actions, validate them across a variety of user profiles and use that information for a future feature and product ideation. According to Amplitude, another way to think about emergent behaviors is to call them “usage patterns,” and identify what appears to be organically repeating within a highly engaged subset of your community.
Peloton posed two questions: How are our most engaged members using our product? How might we productize these behaviors and make them applicable to the widest possible audience?
4. Respond with immediate and appropriate service.
5. Keep them loyal through acts of kindness.
This article originally appeared in the May/June issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo by @tehhydina/Twenty20