Start Dating Your Customers
Okay, not really…let me explain a little bit. Do you remember when you started dating? When you fell head over heels for someone else, do you remember that? I mean, you did everything they wanted to do whether you liked it or not.
I ran five miles to my girlfriend’s house in high school. I was in shape and was a wrestler and I kinda made that a part of my training, but I would run to her house literally to talk for 15 minutes if that’s all it was. She was into ice skating. I didn’t know how to ice skate. I would go out on my tennis shoes on the frozen river next to her to try to ice skate with her. I did whatever she wanted to. When you fall for someone you make it obvious that they’re the most important person.
I’m going to tie this into why you want to have this kind of affinity for your customer, but I want to go a little further!
Remember when you planned a date? It was perfect. You plan everything about it. You didn’t plan it based on what you like but based on what your date would like. Why? Because you wanted a second date. And it’s like selling. We’re all salespeople. We’ve been selling our entire life. Whether it was asking for a cookie when we were three, asking if we could stay up late or have a friend come over our house, or getting that young lady to go to that first dance with you. We’ve always been selling.
So let’s go back to that dating process and let’s tie it into our customers.
Think about your customer for a second. How can you satisfy their wants and needs? I always say you start a business based on what the customer either needs or because it solves a problem or it fulfills a desire.
Let’s look at every business.
Microsoft Windows. It solved the problem that created an operating system. Amazon fulfills our wants. We can get them overnight. Sandals vacation, that’s a desire. You can have any car, but I desire a BMW. I need nutrition. Every business starts with that as a concept.
Start With the Customer
So let’s just take your customers and put them in the center.
Okay, I’m kind of drawing this on a piece of paper. So I got a big C right there. Customer, okay, what is it they want? They want this service that I can provide and what can I do with this service to make it even better for them? To make it easier.
Well, maybe when they call I can have somebody who understands the service answer. We’re providing a little bit more information to them instead of just an answering service, so I can have somebody who could be more helpful.
Well, maybe when we provided an on-site estimate for them, I could have a professional arrive who dressed like a professional and could communicate really well. So the customer could better understand what it is they are purchasing and why they’re purchasing.
We do a follow-up call to make sure they’re happy. Apply this to any business. Put the customer in the center and work back from what the customer wants.
Amazon did this. What does Amazon’s customer want? The incredible selection, right? Type in anything and buy it instantly.
Funny story: I was in a materials store because I was getting the fabric to go in our studio to go over where we do it some soundproofing. First time I’ve ever been in one and the service was so bad in the store that I pulled out my phone, went on Amazon, typed in the fabric, and I ordered it before I made it through the line. So I left the line.
Amazon has perfected it. They made the site very easy. You can get most things overnight. Can’t beat it. They start with the customer. What does your customer want? What would be the perfect date/buying experience? What would be the perfect follow-up call? Etc.
We mail every one of our customers a follow-up letter with a Starbucks card in it for our new customers thanking them for doing business with us and put a survey in there. Why? We want to know they are happy and is there anything we can do better. Our business is set up from the customer-centric point of view.
The Customer is NOT Always Right
Listen, I want to tell you customers are not always right.
I dealt with customers that aren’t always right. Sometimes I have customers that say “Well, I thought that was included.” I apologize, but I tell them “I can’t give you what you thought but I’ll give you what the contract says.”
I have customers that say “I’m not happy” and I look at them like…”Yeah, I don’t think you’ve been happy since maybe the fall of 95, but I can’t fix that either, but I can give you everything that we promised to give you for what you pay, for.”
The point is, I don’t think the customer is always right.
I still think there’s something you can learn from every customer, but I still work back from the customer’s point of view. Even when I think they’re wrong, I still try to put myself in their position and try to make it as good a situation as it can be based on a misunderstanding. More than 99% of our customers say they’ve had a great experience. Why? Because we’ve tried to create the perfect experience because we started with the customer.
Go Out of Your Way for Your Customers
In one of my businesses, I know that it’s very hard for customers to make decisions.
So I have an interior designer, at no charge to our customers, that works with them. I make a fortune off this one move, because I noticed that customers had trouble making decisions, which slowed down our buying process, they kept them from buying sooner so thought, “Well what would help the customer make a decision easier?”
So I brought on an interior designer from the New York Institute of Technology, a phenomenal person to assist them. I pay for them. Why? Because I want the experience to be as effortless as possible. And of course, it makes them buy faster. It speeds up our conveyor belt for this company, they tell their friends, and it creates a great radio and a great TV commercial, but it starts with the customer.
Our digital marketing companies started with the customer. We found that small business owners did not understand the internet and how to effectively market using it. Business plan 101. Find a need. So what can we offer small businesses? Well, we can offer them SEO, build their website, run their digital ads. Then we need to follow up with these customers once a month, so we send them something very organized so they can understand what they’re getting for their money. That’s why more than 99% of these customers renew.
.So when I joke and I say, “Hey start dating your customers…” What I’m really saying is find out what your customer wants, just like you did when you first met someone special, and you went out of your way to do everything they wanted. You did everything to find out what they like or didn’t like. On that first date, you tried to create the perfect experience. When you called the next day, you wanted to see if they were happy. What? So you could have a second date.
We complicate business at the end of the day but if you put all your focus on meeting the needs of your customers, I guarantee you, you will have a successful company.