By Chip R. Bell
Customers are favorably attracted to small businesses when they get a positive emotional connection. This means heart-touching encounters filled with spirit, caring and a 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.
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.
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. When you are not the best resource, help them find one that can meet their need. They’ll remember you cared and will come back. And make sure they leave remembering your upbeat disposition.
“The Answer is ‘Yes,’ what’s Your Question?”
This “we’ll figure out a way to do whatever you need” tells customers your utility has a “can do” attitude. 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. Be optimistic you can meet their need.
Great Manners Make Customers Loyal
Customers enjoy good manners—the type your mother taught you. Even the crankiest, most challenging customer deserves your respect. Customers may not always be right, but they are always the customer. Your job is help them feel right. Remember: If they all decided to not return, you’d be out of a job or out of business!
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 felt the need to make a point, teach a lesson, or offer advice. Most parents have that challenge. When I stopped trying to be a smart daddy and simply listened, my son began to trust me because he felt heard and valued. Customers are the same; give them your undivided attention.
Find Customers, Don’t Make Them Find You
Staff costs can be the most expensive item in the company. 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.
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 the 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.
hank Customers Like You Really Mean it
Customers love it when you tell them you appreciate their business. Sound enthusiastic! If you sound like a mechanical “thank-you-for-shopping-at-J-Mart” robot, they will remember your insincerity and not your gratitude. Give customers the best you have, the best will come back to you!
Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and the author of several best-selling books. His newest book is Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles. He can be reached at chipbell.com.