Recognize and acknowledge yourself to be a facilitator of your customer’s success.

They are the hero in all your communications. They are the ones who will be creating the results and making the difference in reaching goals. By placing your customer in the hero role, you engage their identity, energy, enthusiasm, and partnership. And in the end, they will be appreciative of your role in helping them be more successful.

I included that statement in 10 Foolproof Tips to Powerfully Communicate because it’s absolutely critical to getting anyone to pay attention to what you’re saying – and for you to actually have an impact in their lives.

Who are we working for again?

We get so caught up in running our business–managing employees, accounting for inventory or time or services, looking for new business, collecting from customers, paying bills, and dreaming up new products or services to offer–that it’s easy to forget we’re actually all working for our customers.

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

–Sam Walton

How can we know what our customers know about us?

Understanding how your customer experiences your business can be almost impossible for any size organization. You can do research, hire consultants, ask your customers yourself, or just watch the process a customer goes through. To really understand, you almost have to mystery shop your own business: leave yourself behind, pretend you know nothing, and interact with your business.

Then admit to yourself the cold, hard truths about what doesn’t feel good or causes some friction. Every business has it–some more than others. Discovering what and where is the first step in improving. Just doing the same thing won’t get that done.

Customer = Repeat Buyers

Just to make sure we’re on the same page here, the reason you care about happy customers is because repeat business is a LOT cheaper to sustain than getting new business over and over again. If people have already purchased from you–a real customer is one who buys TWICE from you–then they already know what they appreciate about your business.

Your job is to discover what will delight your customer over and over again as they buy from you, get billed, arrange for service or returns, ask questions, and just get in touch with you. Then you have a business that can grow.

The bottom line

Put your customer–your repeat buyers–at the center of your business. Make them a hero in everything you do. If that’s how they experience your communications, interactions, and product value, then what’s left is to optimize the back end of the business to keep that going.

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