My wife and I recently rediscovered a long-time Grand Junction favorite for dinner in a breezeway off Main Street.
The experiences we’ve enjoyed each time we’ve since frequented this establishment have been consistent, wonderful, and fulfilling. The food, drinks, desserts, atmosphere, and customer service are all fantastic. And if anything requires adjustment, it’s always done happily, without hesitation, and to our liking. Without fail, we leave there happy, satisfied, and looking forward to our next visit.
What’s more, we never miss an opportunity to encourage others to patronize this restaurant. In other words, we’re raving fans.
When customers like — better yet, love — your business, they’ll give you their patronage and happily share their glowing recommendations. Business owners who want to operate enterprises that survive in challenging times, thrive in easy times, and stand out in the marketplace all the time should consistently endeavor to create raving fans of their customers.
The most effective way to create raving fans of your customers is to first create raving fans of your team members. They’re the ones who interact with your patrons and deliver customer service. In many instances, team members control the quality of the products and services you provide. If your team members don’t trust, respect, like, and appreciate you, your business will suffer due to decreased customer satisfaction.
How do business owners and managers create raving fans of their team members?
Consider three points:
- People want to be liked and accepted. This is a basic human need. We typically treat the people we like very differently from those we don’t. When you like someone, you take an interest in them, build relationships, and care about them. They know it. They also know when you don’t like or care about them.
- Your team members aren’t merely assets, resources or cogs in the wheels of business. They’re humans with lives, challenges, fears, hopes, and dreams just like you. Take the time to get to know your people. Most team members who are treated this way have a real sense of loyalty and commitment to the business and customers it serves. When people on your team feel cared about, they tend to return the favor to you and your customers.
- People want to feel valued and appreciated. Don’t you? Remember to consistently praise team members for jobs well done. They aren’t going to be perfect. But if they give their best in caring for your customers, reward them with recognition so they know you value and appreciate them.
There are many ways to show appreciation to your team members. Knowing what they value matters. When a member of your team is on time, performs consistently high-quality work, improves their abilities, and treats your customers with the utmost regard, reward them accordingly. Otherwise, they’ll work for another business and turn its customers into raving fans.
People want to feel important. They want to know they matter and 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’re not.
Ask for, listen to and really consider their input as you make decisions and implement changes. This doesn’t mean you’ll take action on every suggestion. But it does mean you think enough of your team members — and ultimately your customers — to get their perspectives and implement their great ideas when and where you can.
Team members who are treated well are typically more engaged, motivated, caring, loyal and willing to go the extra mile for customers because business owners do the same for them. Turnover decreases, efficiency and productivity increase and sales are captured — not lost — in this business model.
No matter the economic landscape, I urge you to truly understand and honor the symbiotic relationships among you, your team members and customers. When your team members are your biggest fans, they create raving fans of your customers. Happy customers are repeat customers. They typically spend more of their hard-earned money with you and become a great source of referrals.
It’s important to realize customer loyalty starts at the top — with business owners. Who you are and how you treat people in the process of doing business will be the ignition point for customer satisfaction, loyalty and success. As you begin to involve, value, care for, recognize and support your team members to a greater degree, the quality of your business will rise along with them.