In the past, business was done on a handshake. People’s reputation and word of mouth was critically important. Since then, the population has increased to the point where we don’t know all our neighbors and definitely don’t know all the people in our town. However, social media has brought us back together in an incredibly powerful way and reputation and word of mouth is more powerful and viral than ever in the past.
Do you ensure that your customers have the best possible experience? Not just that they don’t have a negative experience. If we have a bad experience, we will talk about it forever. Just think about it. Don’t we all have those stories that we love to tell others about our bad experiences as a customer? The nine month experience I had with the Audi dealership in New Orleans to get a new grill plate, such terrible customer service that I drove over 80 miles to Baton Rouge for routine service in the future? I’m sure you have one of those stories.
I’m not sure why we love to share dramatic stories of hardship, conflict and disappointment, but there is something viral about them. We can challenge humanity to share positive stories and good news, but the fact is for our businesses, we must prevent those dramatic stories of disappointment.
The kicker is that those terrible experiences can hurt us significantly, but the silent killers are the customers we fail to make happy and their indifference turns into a powerful driver for them to go elsewhere. People may forget what you say and do, but they don’t quickly forget how you make them feel. Do you connect with your customer enough to forge a relationship? This nuance is missed by most people because as long as the person buys, appears happy and doesn’t complain, they don’t worry.
How do you know if you’ve really connected? Here are just a few indications:
- The customer opens up and talks freely. They are comfortable and can voice concerns.
- Their concerns have been resolved to their satisfaction, not just where they say, “okay, that’s fine.”
- They ask you for help or assistance in another area, because they trust you.
- They’ve become relaxed with you, even if they are not a relaxed person.
Once you connect, you work to build the relationship. You are keenly aware they have concerns before they voice them. You take possible concerns and turn them into opportunities to serve them better. The customer never walks away with a mediocre experience and certainly not a negative one they’re going to share with all their friends.
Can you connect?