Watching my baby boy grow up right before my eyes is an amazing experience. Even before he can talk, he is teaching me so much about life. Today I gather together 5 insights he has taught me and apply them to your customers.
1. Everything Goes into the Mouth
Anything that goes near my boy will get picked up and promptly inserted into his mouth. He finds it soothing to suck and chew on just about anything. Customers are the same: they like to try before they buy. When allowed to physically use the product, customers can overcome any fears they may have. You can help your customers test drive your products by:
- offering a trial period where potential customers can use your product or service risk-free
- give out free samples of your product
- stand behind your product with a money-back guarantee
- make your product approachable via a physical display or lots of pictures
Although my son has mastered the ability to roll over, he doesn’t do it that often. As much as we’d like him to roll over on demand, we can’t force him to do tricks for us. Likewise, you can’t force customers to perform tricks either. They shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to do business with you. Make it easy for them. Be understanding. Remove obstacles that impede their purchases, and smooth out the transaction process.
3. Pay Attention to Me!
My baby boy loves attention. If he feels neglected, he’ll cry, squawk, or otherwise make his presence known by some vocalization. He’ll vary his tones and volume to see what gets the results he wants. Your customers also need personal and caring attention. If you don’t immediately attend to their needs, customers may:
- try again
- attempt a different tactic to get your attention
- leave and never come back
For the customer that simply tries again, you need to be listening and attentive to your customer input. If you have your eyes and ears open, you’ll probably catch this type of customer and be able to help them.
When customers vary their tactics, they are desperately trying to tell you that they want to do business with you and are willing to put some effort into the process. Reward these customers with appreciation and quality customer service.
Evaluate the reasons customers simply walk away and you’ll be able to adjust your current business practices to better retain those prospects.
4. Take Care of My Needs
My son depends on my wife and I for everything from food to shelter to changing that smelly diaper. His very comfort is dependent on how we care for him. Similarly, your customers have needs that need to be addressed. They’ll have problems that need resolution or questions that need answers. Make them feel empowered and comfortable by attending to their needs.
Sometimes customers stink like my baby’s diapers. Sometimes they are so grumpy you just don’t want to deal with them. However, at the root of it all is an opportunity for you to shine as a business. How you handle customer interactions during the good and bad times will speak volumes to your character and level of service. A customer who leaves your store having had a good resolution to a bad problem will be likely to return again.
5. I’ve Just Stuck My Foot In My Mouth
My little boy is still so flexible that he can stick his foot in his mouth and suck on his toes. Customers may figuratively stick their feet in their mouths by saying something they shouldn’t have. Some will apologize but others may not even know they said something offensive to you. You’ll need to roll with the punches when this happens and keep your calm and diplomatic stance. A cool and collected approach will often defuse angry customers.
Treat your customers and care for them as you would an infant. They require special handling and lots of attention if you are to retain them as loyal customers. Pay attention to their needs and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty in resolving your customer’s problems. Customers will recognize that you actually care about them and will reward you with their continued business.