I already know the answer to this question. Of course you want your customers to love you. After all, isn’t that one of the reasons you decided to get into business?The sad fact is that most companies have customers that barely tolerate them. I’m hoping that you’ll take a look at your own business and make one or two changes that will delight your customers. Here are some ideas that might help.
Do you think about your services from your customers’ point of view?
I know you’ve spent lots of time developing services and products for your customers. You even think you know what your customers want. I bet there’s a good chance that not only do you now know what your customers really want, you’ve never bothered to ask them.
I know this has occasionally been a problem for me. I develop something that I think is really cool, roll it out to my customers and nothing happens. I could have saved myself a lot of time and effort if I just asked before I spent hundreds of hours developing something no one wanted.
Hint: This is where you want to think about failing fast and cheap with lots of small experiments.
Do you have a customer advisory board?
I’ve written a lot about the importance of having a customer or client advisory board. For me this is the magic sauce in companies that really understand their customers.
A customer advisory board allows you the opportunity to test out your ideas before you put time and energy behind them. I know that you don’t want to look “dumb” in front of your customers. I also know that when you trust your customers to give you honest feedback you’re going to get feedback that will help your customers love you.
Hint: Make sure that members of your customer advisory board to only talk about services and products from their point of view and let you know whether they would spend their hard earned cash on your newest idea.
What sort of language do you allow in your company when you talk about your customers?
Too often I see companies that allow their employees to say really bad things about the company’s customers. I can only say one thing about that…..stop it and don’t let your employees ever say a bad thing about a customer.
We all have customers who can be a little difficult. At the same time if we allow difficult customers to do business with us it’s our fault and not the customer’s. You can always place limits on what you’re going to allow for bad customer behavior.
Hint: If you let bad customers into your company, that’s your problem. If you let your staff say bad things about your customers, it’s guaranteed to leak through to all customer communications.
How do you treat your employees?
I’m really sick of hearing employers tell me that it doesn’t matter how I treat my employees. I expect them to treat all of my customers well.
I can promise you one thing, if you don’t treat your employees well there is no way they are going to treat your customers well. When you don’t show love towards your employees how can you expect them to show love towards your customers?
Hint: Don’t allow abusive behavior by any manager towards any employee. Your employees and customers will thank you for this.
How often do you ask yourself the really tough questions?
This is a big question and one I want you to take more than five minutes to answer. Too often I see companies and its management not be willing to ask the tough question.
Here’s a good place to start. Put yourself in the shoes of your oldest customer. Have a conversation with yourself as if you were talking with that customer and see if you’ve made consistent improvements in your product and service.
Here’s an even tougher thing to do, have a conversation with your oldest customer and ask them what you need to change for them to love your company and the products that you provide. I want you to use the word love. Even though it’s a four-letter word, it’s one you need to use around your company more often. It’s a word we need to see in the business setting more often.