Intro by Skip Cohen

Obviously, I’m a huge Shep Hyken fan, and so appreciate his permission to share his wisdom on the Marathon Press blog. Today’s post was written around Valentine’s Day several years ago, but there’s no expiration date on great advice!

This one especially hit home. It’s all about the importance of problem-solving and communication with your clients. If you’ve been listening to the new podcast series Mark Weber and I have been doing, Customer Service’s importance comes up in virtually every conversation.  No matter what aspect of your business you’re working to build – the relationship with your target audience and active customers is always the most important.

Shep’s sharing six ways to make sure your customers love you…no matter what the issue. Your skill set is obviously the foundation for your business, but if you can’t back up great images with outstanding service, then no matter how stunning the work is, your customers won’t fall in love with working with you.

The Walden’s always talk about making working with you an experience – well, the human element of “post-production” includes listening, empathizing, and problem-solving.

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What if the worst thing a customer ever said about you was, “I love you!”?

Even on a bad day, you’re still so good that they love you! Are you that good? Do customers love you even when there’s a problem or complaint? Here are six ways to make customers love you no matter what!

  1. Become customer-focused. This means that in addition to creating an amazing customer experience, every decision keeps the customer in mind. It doesn’t mean every decision will make the customer happy, but the customer is always kept in mind when any type of change is made, from price to changes in features to new and even discontinued products.
  2. Be transparent. As you make customer-focused decisions, even ones that might negatively impact the customer, let the customer know ahead of time—and let them know why you’re making the decision. Customers appreciate knowing and understanding when and why something changes.
  3. Manage problems and complaints. This is where “the rubber hits the road,” as the old saying goes. You could provide a flawless experience for ten years, which your customer loves you for. But one day there’s a problem. This is judgment day. This is where you earn the right to do business with them for the next ten years.
  4. Customers are not always right. This comes from my older material, but it’s worth mentioning again. The customer is NOT always right! But they are always the customer. Whenever they are wrong, let them be wrong with dignity and respect.
  5. Avoid transactions. A transaction is a one-time occurrence. An interaction is a relationship that is ongoing. Customers love to feel like they’re part of something. The way to make that happen is to think of them not as a customer, but as a partner. This is a powerful B2B strategy, but it works with something as simple as buying shoes. The salesperson doesn’t sell a shoe. Instead, they sell comfort, style, and emotion. They understand what the customer wants, not just what they say they need. It’s more than a sale. It’s part of something that is bigger and ongoing.
  6. Aim for always and forever. Let’s close these customer love tips with one final thought. I’ve written about this extensively, but this is where you want to be. You want your customers to describe you using the word always before something positive. For example, “They always respond quickly,” or, “They are always so helpful.” Reflecting back on number three (managing complaints), they could say, “Even when there is a problem, I can always count on them.” The word always is… always and forever!

There you have it—six ways to make your customers love you. Just in time for Valentine’s Day! Consider showing your customers a little extra love this Valentine’s Day—or any day of the year—by focusing on one of these six ideas. I guarantee it will make your customers love you back.

Copyright © MMXX, Shep Hyken – Used with Permission

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