Now I know that this is a big thing to say, but I really believe it. Our world is incredibly fast-paced, complicated, tech-focused and hugely competitive. This tends to make us focus inward, and often we forget about the people that are essential to our very existence.
I keep hearing the saying "don't fall in love with your products, fall in love with your customers". I've heard it all around the world and I think it is incredibly powerful. Products and services come and go, but if we do the right things our customers will be forever (or at least for a long time).
I've spent a lot of time dissecting the most successful companies in the world right now, the names we are all very familiar with. The reason for their success is often that they do a few very smart things in relation to their customers. Having looked long and hard at these companies, I think that there are 7 critical strategies that will have a huge impact on the relationship we build with our customers.
Now they might sound simple, yet if you take a moment to think long and hard about the companies you do business with, how many actually do all 7?
1. RESPECT THEIR TIME
We have to save our customers time, however we can. The greatest business sin in the modern world is wasting the time of the people who are trying to buy from us.
2. THEY ARE NOT SHEEP, DON'T TREAT THEM LIKE THEY ARE
We have to treat people as individuals. Or at least make them feel like we are treating them as individuals. We don't want to be a face in the crowd anymore.
3. A TRANSACTION IS NOT ENOUGH, THEY WANT EXPERIENCES
Simply taking money from people in exchange for something is not enough. We want experiences not just transactions. This means we need to look at every single part of our business to find ways to make it a better experience for our customers.
4. MAKE IT RIDICULOUSLY EASY
Make it easy for people to make a decision on the products or services we are selling. Make it overly complicated, difficult or illogical and they will go elsewhere, even if it means buying an inferior product.
5. CHARGE FOR QUALITY - AND MAKE SURE YOU DELIVER
People will pay for quality. Don't get obsessed with the false and limiting belief that everyone wants everything cheap. They don't - they just don't want to be ripped off and now, more than ever, people are prepared to pay for quality.
6. MAKE THEIR LIVES EASIER
Reduce their workload. If you give people more work to do, they will simply do their utmost to find someone else to buy from. This means don't make any of your processes, procedures or policies overly complicated, stupid or built to make your life easier but by association, they make your customers life more difficult.
7. COMMUNICATE SMARTERCommunicate to suit them not you. We need to be asking our customers how they would like to communicate and then deliver. Lousy communication is still the biggest issue for most consumers and the main reason they move onto a new business.
If you do a few of these, you will be way ahead of many competing businesses in the same space as you. But imagine if you did all of them. I have no doubt that if you master all 7 of these strategies, you would build an exceptional business.