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Part 2 – Field Guide

10 Little Things for Big Paybacks 

Here are 10 little things you can do to delight your customers. 

1.) Smiles Are Not Enough 

You must create and constantly monitor internal systems that ensure your people deliver a first-class experience the first time and every time a customer encounters your business. Systems can be as simple as formalizing how you want your customers greeted in person, on the phone, and online. 

2.) Create a Little Things Manual 

Outline your standard procedures and policies that impact every point of contact your customers and prospects have with your business.  Make them clear and concise and review them regularly at staff meetings. 

3.) Have an Advertising Checklist 

Have a checklist to ensure your slogan, contact information, and image are consistent enough to stick in the minds of the 95% of the population that hears your ad this week but is not in the market for your products yet. Ensure your social media efforts are geared towards building your email database. 

4.) Empower Your People 

Customer Relations is NOT a department; it’s a way of doing business at every level. Create a policy that empowers your people to resolve customer conflicts and allows them to under-promise and over-deliver at every level. A customer who simply gets their money back after experiencing annoying problems, and who takes an hour out of their day to drive 30 miles to return the product will only be appeased, not delighted.  Give them a coupon for a discount on their next purchase.  Now you have over-delivered AND generated a return visit or sale. 

5.) Hygiene and Manners

Have a clearly defined written dress and hygiene code that is introduced before you hire a new recruit and is part of your Little Things operations manual. “There you go” is not an acceptable substitute for “thank you” when you give your customers their change or receipt. A sincere “please” and “thank you” should be standard procedure.   

6.) Welcome Your Unhappy Customers

Bill Gates says, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Survey your customer satisfaction levels with a view to improving the customer experience at your business. Continuously monitor and resolve online comments and reviews. There is always room for improvement and inviting customer input makes your customers feel important and strengthens their relationship with you. 

7.) No Entitlement Salaries 

What’s in it for your staff to over-deliver and delight your customers? Awards, recognition, bonuses, profit sharing, or other incentives need to be in place to recognize those who create happy customers. Behavior that gets rewarded, gets repeated! 

8.) Re-think at Every Level 

Take your focus off of the “cost of sale” and refocus on the cost of NO sale. Continually review your systems and processes and invite staff and customer participation in those reviews. “Better” is the enemy of “best”. Just when you think you’re doing the best you can, a competitor will find a way to do it better if you don’t. 

9.) Never Say “Can’t” 

Period. Never say, “It’s not our policy.” Always ask, “What can we do to make you happy?”, then do it

10.) It Rolls Down Hill 

The way you treat your staff is the way they will treat their jobs and your customers! Respecting your staff also reduces absenteeism and internal theft rates. Make the job fun. Celebrate successes, have staff-only events, and offer employee pricing to them and their families. 

Know When to Fire a Customer

The occasional customer can abuse these little things. Internally, watch for those unacceptable abuses and clearly define your limits.  When your limit is reached, don’t ask your staff to do the dirty work.  Have a system where they introduce the customer and their demands to you.  Explain why you feel their demand is unreasonable, then offer to do it anyway if they agree never to return to your business.

Too busy to look after the Little Things? Try this:

1.) Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Look after one little system, policy, or procedure each week or month. Add them to your Little Things manual as you go. With social media, start small and invest in one platform at a time.

2.) Delegate. Your best customer-focused people will welcome the responsibility and challenge of tackling the little things with you. 

SoundADvice is a co-production of this station and ENS Media USA to help local businesses increase their sales and their return on investment in advertising. Your SoundADvice marketing tips are emailed to you on our behalf from ENS Media USA.

ENS Media USA's address is: 6523 S. Killarney Ct., Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57108

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