“People don't care how much you know
until they know how much you care.”
Getting to know who you're dealing with and understanding their peculiarities enables you to provide a standard of service that contributes to the sense they are being looked after by someone who genuinely has their best interests at heart.
This is the best approach to establishing trust, the most important ingredient in a “Customers for Life” philosophy and will deliver the many benefits by building long term relationships with your clientele.
One of these benefits is the fact it’s far easier to sell to customers with whom you have a trusting relationship than it is to have to continually find new ones.
Probability of selling to a new prospect ... 5 – 20%
Probability of selling to an existing customer ... 60 – 70%
Source: Marketing Metrics
Brian Tracy says,
“You’re in the People Business,
no-matter what you do and where you do it.”
I say, if that’s the case, then it makes perfect sense that we do everything we can to turn our team into ‘People Champions’.
The ‘Golden Rule’ of the People Business was traditionally, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. The problem with this theory is, if I follow it in my dealings with others, it establishes me as the reference point. My desired way of being treated becomes the benchmark for how I should treat others. In any serving capacity, regardless of the business, this misses the point of serving.
I believe the ‘Golden Rule’ should be replaced by the ‘Platinum Rule’ which states, “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them”. A subtle change in words but a significant shift in focus from what I want out of the situation, to what my customers expect.
With this in mind, implementing the “People before Business” approach, means taking a few moments to get to know each new customer before conducting the business. Seeking to understand what it is they are hoping for over and above whatever they are planning to purchase, so that we can provide that too. Focusing a little less on what we sell them and a little more on how we sell it to them!
This focus is also particularly important as you undertake the process of mapping the Customer Journey for your business. Your customers’ expectations are fundamental in designing the experience you deliver throughout each interaction they have with your business.
Identify the many expectations relating to how to best interact with buyers in your market segment and create customer experiences designed to deliver those.
If all you do is create a platform that really just ticks the rational boxes for them by providing great quality products and/or services, you risk missing the most important requirement which is to also tick those boxes that relate to the emotional connection your customers feel they have with you, your team and your business.
It is this sense of relationship that underpins the Customers for Life philosophy and delivers loyalty and advocacy at the highest level.
5% increase in Customer Retention
can increase your profit by 25 – 95%
Source: Bain & Co. + Harvard Business Review Research
Consumers generally accept the suggestion that “You get what you pay for!” However, given they can now source just about anything from anywhere in the world, you need to establish yourselves as the, or at least a supplier of choice in your industry by adding value to what it is they ‘get’ from you.
“Customer Experience is the last source of sustainable differentiation and the new competitive battleground.”
Source: Tiffani Bova, VP Gartner
When dealing with others, basic human expectations are things like: smiles, knowledge, friendliness, helpfulness, empathy and courtesy. They represent the soft skills typically taught in Customer Service training and are generally well practiced by most customer facing staff.
However, they can also be practiced in an almost automated fashion that requires little or no genuine connection with or regard for the customer they are serving.
To demonstrate care at a far more substantial level and establish a level of rapport that initiates the building of a longer-term relationship, it is necessary to consider these four core needs.
People need to feel:
Beyond the provision of whatever product or service it is you offer, it is critical to deliver a Customer Experience that satisfies each of these needs at every stage along the Customer Journey, prior to, during and beyond the transaction. Doing so is sure to take you a long way to establishing happy, loyal customers who buy more, return more often and enthusiastically promote you to others.
For more information on this topic and how you can create People Champions, please contact the author.