What is customer love?
“Customer Love.” What is it? It is THE passion you should have in your organization. If you do not have it, you are missing the point of why you go to work. Your relationship with your customers is the key to everything you do in the workplace. It determines the growth, development and ongoing health of your organization.
The entire organization must be 100% customer-committed and customer-focused: every day, every interaction, in every department. There is simply no other reason we are in business than to be officially and undeniably dedicated to the success and well being of our customers. It must be a way of life, an ongoing attitude, and an overall consciousness present within your organization. All of your daily behaviors must reflect your goals of pleasing and doing the very best for your customers.
Sometimes, people can get in the way of their own good judgment, and they might think their customers are a pain in the neck, or they are too demanding. Or, they get aggravated by a last minute request from their customer to compile a report by hand, instead of printing it off from the computer. Or, maybe they just cannot understand and appreciate why a customer would want them to simplify their billing; so, they refuse to do it.
Occasionally, customers may need you to work overtime because their driver got held up at another stop, and they won’t be able to make it to your location for their pick up until after hours…and, they need that product to run their night shift. The easiest way to understand how important it is to love your customer is to realize that you wouldn’t have a job without them.
As a young Sales Manager, the VP of Sales gave me a piece of advice that I practice to this day. He said: “Never, Ever make your customer work hard to be your customer.”
Customer contact is not always about doing “damage control” when there’s a problem, or reacting to a mistake your company made which was either costly or embarrassing to the customer. To be clear, if a mistake does occur, you should react to it immediately and correct the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, a customer relationship should not be predicated on your ability to react to problems or negative circumstances.
One of the very best times to visit your customers is when everything is great…when there are no complaints, no nagging problems. It doesn’t have to be “rate increase time,” and that most certainly should not be the only occasion on which you spend time with your customer. As long as you are sincere and genuinely interested in the success of their organization, any time is a good time to talk to your customers, and you should make it happen.
So, call your customers; don’t email them. Make an appointment to sit down with your customers and ask them to help you by offering their thoughts on what else you can do for them. Ask them to tell you about their goals for the coming year…what’s on the drawing board, and how that might have an effect on the kinds of services or products you presently provide for them.
Tell your customers you are interested in their company’s history and its beginnings, and that you are proud to be a part of their ongoing development. If you haven’t already done it, request a tour of their facilities, and ask questions on the tour to enable you to better understand their process or product. Ask about any building expansion plans in which they may be involved, and if that will require any changes in your present relationship or service level with them.
Let your customers know you appreciate and respect your relationship with them, and that you will do whatever it takes (as long as it is ethical, moral and legal) to prove your loyalty to them and make it easy for them to be your customer.
Is there more to it than that? Of course there is; yet, that one statement suggests what every manager, every supervisor and every employee should be thinking as they walk through the door each day, and throughout their careers.
If you are in a leadership position in your company, put a program in place to train EVERYONE who is affiliated with your organization to be on board with this thinking. Create and maintain an actionable customer consciousness in your organization that is specific, measurable and reinforced. Include your shareholders, Board of Directors and all new hires.
If you are a one man shop, or a two woman show, make it your style, your motto, your mantra: “Customer Love.” Make it easy for your customer to be your customer, and nurture your relationship with them. You will thank yourself; and, it will pay dividends.
Douglas Crotty is a Business Development Specialist – Consultant and freelance business and creative writer and author. He lives in Gainesville, FL and holds a BA in English from Franklin College of Indiana. Doug’s passions are developing customer and vendor relationships, strengthening organizational continuity, and helping businesses grow. He specializes in facilitating business turnarounds and start-ups, and writing business plans, as well as presenting same to a client’s banker or investor. He can be reached at 352-331-8849 (o), 352-213-2555 (c), or, [email protected].