The primary aim of any business should be to create raving fans out of its customers. After all, if your customers don’t like you, they aren’t going to do business with you and certainly won’t recommend you to others. But how does one go about creating raving fans out of their customers?
As a professional business development coach and consultant, I suggest the best way to create raving fans out of your customers is to first create raving fans out of your team members. They’re the ones who interact with your customers on a daily basis and deliver customer service. They also control the quality of the products and services you provide. If your team members don’t trust, respect and like you, your business will suffer due to decreased customer satisfaction.
So how do business owners create raving fans out of their team members?
Let’s consider some primary things people want:
People want to feel important. They want to know they matter and to contribute something of value to the team. Creating this feeling in your team members is as easy as involving them in the decision-making process. If you’re truly running the company and they’re working in operations, your team members likely will be aware of things you aren’t.
Ask for, listen to and really consider their input as you make decisions and implement changes. This doesn’t mean you take action on everything they suggest. But it does mean you think enough of your team members — and ultimately your customers — to get their perspectives and implement their great ideas.
People want to be liked and accepted. This is a basic human need. You treat people you like very differently from those you don’t like. When you like someone, you take an interest in them, build a relationship and care about them.
Your people aren’t merely assets, resources or cogs in the wheel. They’re human beings with lives, challenges, hopes and dreams. Take the time to get to know your team members. Team members who are treated this way develop a real sense of loyalty and commitment to the business and the customers it serves.
People want to feel valued and appreciated. Don’t you? Praise your team members openly for a job well done. They aren’t going to be perfect. But if they give their best, reward them with some recognition so they know they’re valued and appreciated by you.
Another way to reward your team members is with spiffs, bonuses, trips, trainings or educational opportunities they want to attend — and raises. When a member of your team does consistently high quality work, is on time, improves their skills and abilities and treats customers with the utmost regard, pay them accordingly. Otherwise, they’ll work for another business and turn its customers into raving fans.
Consider this: The average person will work 104,000 hours of their waking life. This means a significant portion of their life will be spent away from family and close friends. It’s important to create a work environment that functions as a second family, because that’s really what it is. In a strong and mutually beneficial family situation, individuals are valued, cared for, supported, encouraged and rewarded. People in these types of family situations thrive. The same is true of team members in a work environment.
When people are treated this way, they return the favor. They’re motivated, caring, loyal and willing to go the extra mile for the customer because business owners do the same for them. This is leadership by example. Turnover decreases, efficiency and productivity increases and sales are captured, not lost.
When your team members are your biggest fans, they create raving fans of your customers. Happy customers are repeat customers and a great source of referrals. Under this business model, your operation will grow its market share and generate higher revenues — and you’ll earn a greater return on investment.
The bottom line is this: Customer loyalty starts at the top — with the business owner. Who you are and how you treat people in the process of doing business will be the ignition point for customer satisfaction, loyalty and overall business growth. As you begin to involve, value, care for, recognize and support your team members to a greater degree, the quality of your business rises right along with them.