“Sir, we can do anything!” It was the front desk hotel clerk’s response to my statement, “I have a unique request.” Even before I could state my unique request, I got a full frontal view of his amazing attitude! My memory of cost, convenience, or competition were now deeply buried. And, I have told lots of friends about my special connection with ‘can do!’
Customers are favorably attracted to organizations when they get an emotional connection. This means heart-touching encounters filled with spirit, caring and an obvious positive attitude. Whether in line, online or face-to-face, customers recall the experience long after they’ve forgotten you met their need. Below are eight rules for building customer loyalty through emotional connections.
1. Be the Attitude You Want Your Customers to Show
We all enjoy serving happy customers. You can help them act pleasant by showing them how. Aim your best smile and warmest attitude toward your customer. Then, deliver a warm greeting that says: “I can’t wait to give you really great customer service.” Optimism and joy are contagious.
2. Never Let Customers Leave Disappointed
Even if you can’t always give customers what they want, you can always give them a great service experience. Find a way to help. And make sure they leave remembering your great smile, positive attitude and upbeat disposition.
3. “The Answer is ‘Yes,’ what’s Your Question?”
This “we’ll figure out a way to do whatever you need” tells customers your small business has a “can do” attitude. Like the front desk clerk in the opening paragraph, go out of your way to help. Show customers your pride. Try to never say “no” to customers unless their requests are inappropriate or unethical.
4. Great Manners Make Customers More Loyal
Customers enjoy getting respect and manners. Customers may not always be right, but they are always your customers. Your goal is to make the feel right. If they all decided to not return, you’d be out of a job!
5. Listen to Learn, Not to Make a Point
One challenge I had as a parent was listening with no agenda. When my son expressed any concern, I’d feel the need to make a point, teach a lesson, or offer advice. When I stopped trying to be a smart daddy and simply listened, he began to trust me because he felt heard and valued. Customers are the same; give them your undivided attention.
6. Find Customers, Don’t Make Them Find You
Staff costs can be the most expensive item in most small businesses. It can sometimes mean too many customers for the number of people to serve them. It also means being more assertive in finding customers to serve. Never let customers have to search for assistance. And, let your “how may I help you” sound like you mean it.
7. Fix the Customer, Not Just the Customer’s Problem
It is not enough to fix a customer’s problem when things go wrong. Just as important is “fixing” the customer’s feelings. Give the customer a sincere apology, show you understand their concern, and let them see how fast you are working to get them back to normal. Follow-up after their disappointment to make sure they are okay.
8. Thank Customers Like You Really Mean it
Customers love it when you tell them you appreciate their business. They never forget they have options and they feel valued when you show you never forget that fact either. Sound enthusiastic! If you sound like a “thank-you-for-shopping-at-J-Mart” robot,” they will remember your insincerity, not your gratitude. Be a joy carrier. If you give customers the best that you have, the best will come back to you!