About this series: This series of articles from Nextiva will help you grasp of the essentials of customer service: the principles and guidelines that will serve you well in any era, regardless of trends, changing technology, and a constantly evolving customer base. Our guide is Micah Solomon, customer service and customer experience consultant, author, and speaker.
Buzz is a mysterious, magical substance. It's what gets customers to your establishment in the first place.
Books have been written about this mysterious force. But not by me.
Because buzz only gets you so far, and only for so long. Literally speaking, it only gets them to the front door, to try you that first time.
Far be it from me to say that buzz isn't important; Obviously, getting prospective customers interested in what you do is an important first step. But it's not enough to build a business on, any more than building a business on Groupon discounts is a long-term strategy.
What you need is staying power. Something that gives customers a desire to return.
And the best model for this is a vision of home.
Here’s what I mean: If you want your customers to return over and over, you need to consciously create an environment/product/process/service that “feels like home” to them.
Now, if you think about it, customers don’t actually want the place they do business with to “be like home”– the home of the typical adult, with dirty dishes in the sink, deferred maintenance up the yin yang. So I use this “home” term advisedly and with some apprehension.
At home as a typical adult, you are in control, but only on a self-serve basis. In your childhood home (optimally), it was a different sort of experience. Food appeared at mealtimes. You didn’t have to worry about shopping for personal items. When light bulbs blew out, new ones replaced them. When you left in the morning for school, your parents were genuinely saddened by your departure, and they looked forward to seeing you again. Your personal preferences were well known and were ‘’magically’’ taken into consideration.
So how does this apply to building staying power at your business? Well, spend a lot of time greeting your customers enthusiastically when they return. Pay attention to how you bid them good-bye when they leave. Make sure that what they typically order is already pre-selected for them and available without any—any—hassle at all.
This builds an environment that a customer will choose to return to, over and over and over. Where they’re known. Where they’re welcomed. Where things work. Where they not only can get what they want, but where you know what they want before they even have to ask for it.
This is the ultimate way to acknowledge a human being, in this case a customer.
© 2014 Micah Solomon