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Business Times Column

by Marcus

Lasting Success Lies in the Basics

The difference between creating raving fans out of customers base and not, is getting the multitude of basic or “little things” right on a regular and consistent basis. Just a moment of reflection on your own personal experiences will reveal that your favorite businesses−the ones you frequent often and tell others about with great enthusiasm−are the ones that go the extra mile in their pursuit to leave you feeling happy and satisfied.

Companies that are in the business of fostering happiness in their customers are the most enlightened of all. They understand that successful business operations are, first and foremost, about serving people and ensuring their satisfaction. These businesses know that increasing the pleasure, fulfillment and happiness of the patrons who support them with their hard earned dollars will build a base of loyal and referring customers.

The following list covers a few “basics” to pay close attention to and deliver consistently as you create lasting success in your own business:

Greeting Your Customers: How your customers are greeted is vitally important because it creates a lasting first impression. If the greeting they receive is lackadaisical−lacking smiles, energy or a caring attitude – your customers will be turned off from the start. Conversely, if they are acknowledged quickly by a smiling, happy person−one who is receptive and caring, they will be open to your business and what it has to offer. The greeting is an opportunity to set the stage for success every time a customer chooses to do business with you.

Listening to Your Customers: I have yet to meet a person who did not want to be listened to while speaking. Yet, all too often, customers are not heard by the businesses serving them. In fact, when this reality occurs, customers are not being served at all; they are undervalued and neglected−and they know it. When you listen to your customers−and train your team to do the same−they feel acknowledged, valued and cared for. The result is greater rapport and strong, lasting relationships.

Understanding Your Customers: When truly listening−the first component of effective communication−you and your team members will be able to understand the exact wants and needs of your customers. Only then will you be positioned to ask questions that help you fully understand their desires and offer high quality solutions. With this type of solid communication in place, you business can accurately meet, and even exceed, your customer’s wants.

Correcting Mistakes for Your Customers: How mistakes are handled is another demarcation between poor, good and exceptional businesses. Errors made by your business should never become the responsibility of your customer. This is a sure fire way to damage your reputation and lose business. It is far wiser to be integrity based−to own any missteps, no matter how costly−and do all you can, within reason, to correct the situation with your customer. The impression you leave them with will be a lasting one.

Satisfy Your Customers Wants and Needs: A wise goal for any business that wishes to be a success is to place a high priority on satisfying customer needs. Every customer comes through your doors for a reason. Finding out what the reason is−understanding what they truly want−and fulfilling it will lead to lasting customer satisfaction. In return, they will come back for more and tell others about their wonderful experience.

Give Your Customers A Great Feeling: Ideally, every business owner and team member wants their customers to leave feeling not only satisfied, but also better than when they arrived. Ultimately, it is the feeling you give your customers that matters most. When people leave your business feeling better, you have added value to their life−and value (receiving a quality experience, not just a good price) is what they are seeking.

All of us have our favorite places to do business, and the reasons are obvious. These companies are the exception to the rule and have set themselves apart by going above and beyond in satisfying us. They truly care about the people who make their success possible.

Make it a priority−on your own or with the assistance of a professional consultant−to uncover your potential. Commit to being a business that consistently delivers on the basics. Do it with integrity and gratitude because−without satisfied customers−there is no business success.

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This article was written for and published in collaboration with The Business Times newspaper.

Access the article here.