By: Shad Bookout
As dawn breaks over the oceanfront, you look out at the first waves of the morning. The funny thing about shorelines is that they are always changing. The grains of sand you walk upon today will be replaced by new ones as quickly as the tide can erase your foot prints. The ever-changing tide delivers new surprises to the shore and washes away the memories of the past. The tide can be gentle; only raising and lowering a matter of inches. However, some places see immense daily tides measuring in many feet.
Just like the tide, the needs of your customers are always changing and bringing new revelations to the shores of your business. The service that you provide them must be adept at handling the ebb and flow created from their needs, for this tide is unstoppable. If you are unable to adapt, you will be eroded away by its power.
Listening to Your Customers
Can you hear the roar of the waves? As each one comes crashing into the shore, it brings with it a siren song of new opportunities. Much can be learned when you pause and take the time to listen to the waves and to your customers. We often get so caught up in the daily struggles of our business that we become blind to the fact that each customer is as unique as every wave in a storm. Your business needs to become more than the sum of its parts. Customers are loyal to brands that take time to listen and understand their needs, rather than assuming they already know what it is they desire.
Make Each Customer Feel Valued
Every customer is unique, just like every shell on a beach. Many may look similar, but the closer you examine them, the more distinctiveness you will discover. Treating customers generically is a disservice to both them and to your brand. Scripted calls and form emails create a mindset in customers that you are too busy to care about their individual concerns. Be sure to personalize the customer experience for each customer. This goes beyond just using their name. Use the communication methods they prefer, and ask them about their expectation on timeframe and execution. Be memorable to them, just as they should be memorable to you. Your customer will not only appreciate you more, they will often pay more for a better customer experience.
Weather the Storm
Unfortunately, there will be times when the sea of customers seems to turn angry. When things go wrong, the way that you deal with the challenges may prove to be more valuable than the times when everything is pleasant. First, remember that this is business – not personal. The challenges expressed by your customer are unique to them. Your customer needs to feel that they have your attention; that you are listening; and that, at that particular moment, helping them is the most important thing in your day. Repeat their need to ensure clarity and make sure that you give a time frame in which you can respond to the need. Set yourself up for success by promising low and delivering high. If an adequate, timely solution cannot be reached, provide a reason why (not just because, “That is policy.”). The customers you convert from challenging situations will often be the ones that are the most loyal.