Small actions that make a big impact

You know that the most important person in your business is your customer, don’t you? Of course you know it – that’s what every business is about, after all – but do you really, really believe it?

And do you act as if you really, really believe it?

It’s so easy to get caught up in the nitty gritty – sorting out admin, managing your team, troubleshooting – that you can lose sight of your goal. And your goal is (or should be) not to make your customers happy …

… it’s to make your customers so delighted with you that they return time and time again.

This doesn’t mean pinning up that old cliché ‘the customer is always right’ on your wall and never looking at it again. It doesn’t mean a ‘one size fits all’ customer service policy. It means that you think ‘what can I do to make them happy?’ at every contact with your customers.

What’s right for each person will differ. There’s a book by Jack Mitchell called ‘Hug your customers – love the results’. You’ll find the American cheesiness funny AND you’ll eat up the success stories he shares. The key message in the book is that everything is personal – you do what it takes to make each customer happy. A hug can be anything – as simple as a smile, a phone call, a ‘how are you?’ that is genuinely meant. Or it can mean going to enormous lengths to find a suitable product for a customer or to get it to them for a tight deadline. All of his team hug their customers in their own individual way.

There are hundreds of small things you can do to hug your customers …

… things that cost little or nothing. Offer a simple cup of coffee – and remember how they take it. Tell them – by phone, letter, e-mail, carrier pigeon – when you have something new that will interest them. Send out thank you notes for a big sale, a medium sale, a small sale. Keep them in the picture – ‘I’m just phoning to say that I ordered the part this morning and it’ll be here on Tuesday’ – and show them that you are making an effort for them.

I highly recommend the book but if you prefer shortcuts it’s worth keeping these three points in mind:

  • Know your customers (make sure your records show you who’s buying what, when, and why – and make sure you really use your records)
  • Care about your customers (they’re people, not accounts – so treat them like people, be interested in them, listen to them, demonstrate that you care)
  • Think about your customers (How can you be proactive in a truly valuable way? What information would they like to get from you? What’s the best ways of keeping in touch with them)

So, look at things from their point of view and show them you love them! And they’ll love you back and keep coming back for more.