When customers like — or better yet, love — your business,
they provide not only their patronage, but also glowing recommendations.
Business owners who want to operate enterprises that thrive in easy times and survive in challenging times must consistently endeavor to turn their customers into RAVING FANS.
I’ve encountered some business owners proud to share the feedback they’ve received from new customers over the past two years. Those customers recounted how other businesses they frequented before the COVID pandemic dropped the ball with customer service. They went on to say they felt respected, cared for and welcomed by team members at the new businesses and would now patronize them instead.
How do you turn customers into raving fans? Start by turning your team members into raving fans. They interact with patrons and deliver customer service. They 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 as a result of decreased customer satisfaction.
How do you turn team members into raving fans? Consider their wants and needs.
- Fact: People want to feel valued and appreciated. Don’t you? Now more than ever, praise your team members for jobs well done. They aren’t always going to be perfect. But if they give their best in caring for your customers, let them know you value and appreciate them.
- Fact: There are many ways to show your appreciation of your team members. Knowing what they value matters. When a member of your team is on time, does consistently high-quality work, improves their skills and 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.
- Fact: 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 like. When you like someone, you take an interest in them, build a relationship and care about them And they know it. They also know when you don’t like and care about them.
Your team members aren’t merely assets, resources or cogs in the wheels of your business. They’re humans with lives, challenges, fears, hopes and dreams just like you. Take the time to get to know your people. Team members who are treated this way have a real sense of loyalty and commitment to the business and the customers it serves. When people on your team feel cared about, they have the tendency to treat customers the same way.
- Fact: 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 consider their comments and suggestions as you make decisions and implement changes. This doesn’t mean you’ll use or 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 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 the customer because the business owner does the same for them. Turnover decreases. Efficiency and productivity increase. Sales are captured, not lost, in this business model.
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 determines customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately 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 right along with them.
As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, I urge you to 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 constitute a great source of referrals.
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This article was written for and published in collaboration with The Business Times newspaper. Access the article here.