12 Steps to Ignite Customer Passion
by Kate Nasser |
Business leaders always seek ways to ignite customer passion about their products and services.
Here are 12 ways to light the fire by investing in the customer relationship using today’s technology and resources:
- Give customers valuable information and simple ways to organize it. The Internet and social media are overwhelming individuals and companies. It is no surprise to find so many applications to organize info on mobile devices and for social media like Twitter. Deliver info that is valuable to your mutual industry and offer ways to organize it. Does your website feature the latest tweets about a hot issue in your industry? Do you have a daily summary of an industry conference? If not, why would the customers connect with you?
- Make your information quick and easy to read. Is your website an easy read? Does it speak to them or just about you? In this economy, your customers are truly doing more with less and are pressed for time and solutions. Your conversations, your texts, your tweets, your website — must clearly speak to them.
- Energize with learning. Customers can feel the energy in a company. They are attracted to the energy. Establish a free-wheeling fun learning culture to ignite this energy and don’t crush it with corporate structure and SMART goals. Pick hot industry topics and get employees talking over lunch. Tap into podcasts and webinars on professional development topics. Transform staff meetings from in-person status reports into learning exchanges!
- Fire them up with fun. Fun is always memorable and memorable brings customers back. Advertising execs have known this for years. How are you using fun to engage your customers? How are you using fun to engage employees who engage customers? Example: Customers are more connected to you when they hear you smiling on the phone. TRUE. So for years the chosen solution was a mirror on each customer service agent’s desk as a clue to smile. BORING. Instead have something fun on the desk to inspire a smile.
- Flex when communicating. People do business with those they like and trust. They tend to be most comfortable with those of a similar personality type. Communicate to the customer’s personality type not from yours. Honest messages are more accepted when delivered with personality type in mind. Know your own type, spot your customer’s type, and flex to it. Sales reps. have done this for years. It’s time for all to do it.
- Use your uniqueness. You must also use your special talents to create bonds with customers. One of my strengths is seeing the big picture quickly while others are stuck in details. My customers bring me in for that purpose and welcome my dissent. Many of them are detail-oriented and, to use their words, get stuck in the weeds.
- Care. We often think of caring as something done in the customer service department. Care is not a department. Care is a mindset that leads to behavior. It should be visible in every person and in every aspect of your company including your website, your phone menus, your service recovery, your ethics, and your products and service. When you care about customers it ignites their passion for your company.
- Pump up your heart rate. Customers are attracted to companies whose heart is beating loud and strong. It gives them hope. Show the customer the vibrancy and energy of your company — perhaps through contributions to the community. Offer them a freebie on something that matters to them that doesn’t cost you loads of money. After the attacks on 9/11, Broadway theater banded together to perform shows even though far fewer people were buying tickets. The message: We will survive and we want you back in our theaters. I delivered six months of free job coaching to job hunters. My message: We will survive this downturn and here’s my contribution!
- Be ready for your customer’s rainy day. When it rains in New York City many store owners push carts onto the streets to sell umbrellas to unprepared tourists. Customers will bond with you if you can provide what they need at a moment’s notice — either through your company or another source. How can you foresee this? Ask your customer service agents to keep a running list for one week of all the requests they get to which they currently say no. Go through this list and identify a solution for each request to prepare for your customer’s rainy day.
- Give each employee a crystal ball. Customers are attracted to companies that are forward thinking. What image do you and your employees project to customers? Often the official publications of a company sound forward focused yet the employees don’t. Do all your employees sound focused on the future or just the sales/mktg departments? Do they ask the customers interesting questions to unearth future needs? Are you asking your employees interesting questions about the future to instill this thinking in them? Think about it.
- Revel in diversity. Cultural norms impact customer’s expectations and buying choices. In many countries, including the USA, your customers are from different countries and cultures. In every aspect of your business, embrace and use cultural diversity to bond with the customers. In your presentations, use stories and references that make sense to that culture. When designing a product or delivering customer service, make sure it makes sense to that culture. Ask your customers to teach you about their cultures through Social CRM. Look for an unfilled niche based on cultural norms and fill it!
- Develop an uncommon talent to build common bonds. How good are you and your employees at building common bonds with your customers and your suppliers? How good are you at connecting with leaders in your customer’s industry through conferences, social media, and the press? Across generations, cultures, and industries, the ability to form common bonds ignites passion for your services. Continue to develop your communication, listening, social networking, creativity, and innovation skills. If your reaction to this is “I don’t have time”, then learn from those around you as you work. They may ignite your passion in developing an uncommon talent for common bonds.
From my experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach
©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, delivers customer service and teamwork training for delivering the guts of great service to every customer. Preview and purchase her new DVD Customer Service USA – Regional Differences That Matter.